"You press the button, we do the rest". That was George Eastman's message to amateur photographers in 1889. His many contribution to the
field of photography helped to popularize the hobby by making it both inexpensive and easy. Photography was invented in france in the late
1930's. When Eastman was a boy, it was still a difficult art. Photographers needed great skill, much technical knowledge, expensive equipment,
and strong backs. Cameras were big and heavy, also, the photographer had to carry around chemicals and equipment to prepare wet
photographic plates and develop pictures.
Although he was only 24 years old and just an amateur photohrapher, in 1878 Eastman began searching for ways to simplify the photographic
process. He worked in a bank where he earned $15.00 dollars a week to help support his widowed mother. In the evening, he experimented at
home in the kitchen. Sometimes he worked very late until he was too tired to undress, and often he fell asleep on the floor beside the kitchen stove.
Eventually his efforts were rewarded. In 1879, he invented and patented a machine for coating the glass plates used in cameras.
The following year he leased the third floor of a building in Rochester, New York, and began commercial production and sale of these plates. From
this simple beginning came the present-day-Eastman Kodak Company, which does a billion dollars worth of business every year and has branch
offices throughout the world. Eastman went from one success to another. In 1884, he perfected flexible roll film and designed the roll holder for
winding it. In 1888, he produced a lightweight camera, the Kodak, priced at $25.00. He had a one dollar camera on the market by 1900. His factory and
laboratory kept growing. They became vast enterprises producing many differnt models of cameras, color film, film for motion picture, and a
variety of photographic supplies.
Thanks to George Eastman, photography has become not only a popular hobby, but on medicine, science, industry, history, education, art, and
entertaiment have significantly affected the 20th century. Today, Eastman is remembered not only as an important inventor and industrialist, but
also as a philanthropist. His gifts to promote education and public wellfare totaled more than $100,000,000.