The founder of Kodak - George Eastman

Senior (College 4th year) ・Engineering ・APA ・3 Sources

George Eastman was the founder of Eastman Kodak Corporation in America, which he discovered in 1989 at the same time that he was creative and resourceful in his young age. He has been the largest manufacturer of image and imaging equipment, facilities and products. Selling low-cost cameras was the company's plan for the first day, leading to large consumption margins. There was 85 per cent control of camera deals and 90 per cent control of film sales in the United States. His photographic film remained a top spot and had 90% of the market share in the 20th century. He centered his operating structure on strategic product groups which share common technology, client sets and manufacturing and product platform (Coe, 1973).

Kodak struggled financially due to the decrease of photographic film sales that eventually led to the withdrawing sales from other foreign countries such as Canada, Western Europe and the United States.

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About his invention

Firstly, from his accounts book, George’s photographic interest was noted, he represented his two photographs to a lecture, and the other pictures described it to her mother. He decided to carry on trainings from George Monroe using drenched coat who was his local photographer. They were made of with glass plates even though it became the complicated project that required corrosive chemistry and bulky apparatus whereby chemicals from chemistry helped in a coating of the plates. The sensitivity of the light was due to layer with nitrate bath, while still wet and he exposed the plate to the camera (Coe, 1973). The development of the picture was immediately before the coat could dry.

The outfit of his first camera contained only of the necessities such as a tripod which was substantial and weighty enough to sustain bungalow, a camera about the size of a soapbox, a tent that was dark, a big plate holder, a container of water and a nitrate bath. With him, was supposed bring a container carrying plates made of glass, containers with substances, cylinders, processing trays and stirring rods.

The equipment was heavy as well they were necessary for carrying out his in the field, photography, he developed it as a hobby and could go whenever to take photographs. As he wanted to learn new ideas, as well he learned Germany and French which could enable him to read write the subject in those two languages (Coe, 1973). During the process of reading, he came across the article that described how a dry plate emulsion is made. There was less meaning of using a dry plate, therefore, to carry them to the field was not mandatory, only could pick them later. He contemplated selling the plates since he successfully arrived at his formula of experimenting with coatings.

His interest was on the dry plate. Therefore, he continued to work on the plates at first that could help him in his project, after carrying out many experiments, he succeeded in making plates. He never preferred using his hands in coating plates, but he could find a machine that would help him in coating emulsion to the glass.

George was determined to make a more simple photography since the first one was not satisfactory and he wanted many people to enjoy it. He started other experiments that could enable him to produce another kind of the photographic material, he never used glass, but instead, he used paper.

The first film in his photographic era was the one with the thin shreds of mixture coated paper. He was helped with William who was a camera producer; he later joined the company of camera manufacturer work (Coe, 1973). He produced a roll holder that enabled a film that will use a standard plate camera.

The idea of the coated paper strips influenced filed photographers to change glass plates. The new film was not easily accessible. Therefore studio portrait photographers could not leave the big professional photographic business; they persisted using the one made of the glass plate rather than the paper coated film (Jenkins, 1975).

George decided to convince studio photographers to start using the paper coated film since it was the latest to be discovered after several experiments, but he found it difficult due to the inadequate supply of the paper covered to customers in different parts. He decided to ensure that the new make will be accessible in the market since he realized many professionals refused to accept his new invented film.

In 3 years later he came up with a shaped container camera that might be detained in the hands, unlike the first one that required the tripod. He called it a Kodak. This name had no meaning but made it quickly for people to remember it, and no one could easily misspell as well many people could pronounce it easily. This made the camera to be different by having an exclusive trademark (Coe, 1973).

The new Kodak camera was accessible to many photographers because more of them had been produced for more people. The updated camera was loaded with a film such that, after pressing the button and then pulls a cord to win the shutter. After film shot, then it could be sent back to the company for the development and printing of pictures and the film was returned with the photos to the customers.

Eastman Kodak was merged with Eastman company in the year 1889 that later grew to become the leading industry of photography. Therefore Kodak became the first producer in the United States which enable in putting the camera to use a low cost for the global market (Jenkins, 1975).

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His success

He was monopolistic in the market which could make him control products from the start through the manufacture as well he bought competitor companies to decrease the rate of competition that could affect his business negatively.

He was determined to carry out a monopolistic business that could make his business overgrow and generate more profits from his sales. Through the power of monopoly, he was able to venture into many markets in the world that made him financially stable to persist in his company (Jenkins, 1975). With the sale of the subsidiaries by his order, he helped him in acquiring more competitors and to review marketing practices.

Even though he was opposed by his competitors, he was not swayed, but he ensured that was fair and loyal to his workers, he could let the spirit of his workers prevail in the company. In his strategy, he assured his workers were satisfied to increase the working vision of the organization (Coe, 1973).

He created good relationship with his workers and by no means wavered to support his inspirations through achievement and wealth. He on foremost time pioneered the concept of employee rewards regarding money as well he allowed employees ideas and offering the bonus to his workers based on the rate of production after a year (Jenkins, 1975).For the cases of the accident in the company, for example, the loss of employer's hand, he began the benefit and accident program which acted as a safety committee that could investigate workers injuries during the working time.

He initiated advertising and global marketing of this product. Although he hired a designer to help him in advertising his Kodak products, he was not satisfied with the outcome which led him to rewrite it himself. All he wanted was to promote his products to market and gain more customers who could be confident with his product (Jenkins, 1975). Through sales, he became rich and purchased many buildings out of the money.

He carefully studied people's ability that could help him in discovering their talents that later he could use to supplement his strength. He attracted many skills despite the fact that he lacked confidence; he drew much creative achievement from the talented individuals (Coe, 1973).

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Challenges in his invention

For his work to become successful, he faced difficulties in his discovery of a camera, the first problem was lack of enough money that could facilitate this project, and he needed to be financially stable for him to carry out his plan smoothly.

Secondly, carrying the coating plate to the field was as well a challenge since it wasn't that much useful then he could pick later which was a waste of time. He took time to discover the paper coating which could make the camera much portable than the one with a coating glass (Coe, 1973). Thirdly, his competitors were as well the primary challenge because they could create a completion in the market that could reduce the sales in the market. It led him to use the money to buy most of his main competitors that could encourage his monopolistic business in the market (Jenkins, 1975).


In conclusion, the invention of the camera as an electric device came with a lot of impacts. George decided to upgrade his first design to promote portability. He went ahead and ensured that the new camera that he came up with after many experiments were available to the consumers when they demanded. From the new make of the camera he ensured that it's known to the market through advertising and availing it to the market, he promoted teamwork in the company to ensure that workers are motivated and at the end of each year he rewarded the best producers. He made money out of his invention and became successful in Kodak Company (Coe, 1973). Therefore, though the innovation he created job opportunities for other people and improving their lives. Their products in the market were helpful to the users which as well exist to the modern world market.

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Coe, B. (1973). George Eastman and the early photographers. London: Priority Press Limited.

Compton's New Media (1994). George Eastman (Jan 1, 1994, online ed.). The Electric Library: Compton's Learning Company. Available:

Jenkins, R. (1975). Images and Enterprise: Technology and the American photographic Industry, 1839-1925. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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