Eastman Kodak, Rochester, USA

Eastman Kodak is a household name in the world of photography. The company revolutionised the practice of photography in the late 19th century, introducing snapshot photography for the masses, and had a long history of making photographic products across the genres of professional, medical, industrial, graphic art and popular photography as well as motion film.

Eastman Kodak was established in Rochester, New York, in the United States of America by George Eastman who first started making photographic products in 1880. After several name changes, his company became Eastman Kodak in 1892. Starting out in a building in State Street, Rochester, business rapidly grew and in 1890 George Eastman began constructing an extensive, new factory site outside the city centre, naming it Kodak Park. Over the 20th century, Eastman Kodak operated several other production sites in the USA too.

Eastman Kodak established numerous subsidiaries around the globe and became the world's most successful photographic manufacturing and distribution business, with its own research laboratories and self-sufficient factories. The company also introduced innovative benefit schemes for staff and contributed to the development of the city of Rochester through George Eastman's generous philanthropy.

The company has survived for over 140 years, although it did not successfully transition to digital imaging technology in the early years of the 21st century and lost its traditional income stream from photographic film and processing. Nonetheless, Eastman Kodak still exists after diversifying and reducing its operations, even if it is not as profitable as it was in its heyday.


George Eastman | Kodak

George Eastman - A Biography, Elizabeth Brayer, University of Rocheter Press, 2006, Rochester, USA.

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