17-38 Segment 2: Inventing the Polaroid

VPR 17-38B FB

 

Photography used to be handled by professionals, and only for special occasions. Edwin Land, the creator of the Polaroid camera, helped turn photography into a daily activity for everyone. Ron Fierstein profiles Land in  A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War.

Edwin Land, the creator of the Polaroid camera, had made millions off a thin sheet that removed the glare from headlights and needed a new problem to solve. This led to the Polaroid camera in the 1940’s and the SX70 in the 70’s. In the 1940’s Kodak formed a partnership with Polaroid to develop the film from their cameras, and both sides made a lot of money from the deal. Kodak then allowed Land to use their labs when he was working on the SX70. When the SX70 was done Kodak, wanted to sell the film as a Kodak film, while Land had decided to sell it himself. This was the start to many more problems with the two companies. A short time after this, Kodak came out with a new instant camera. Land sued for patent infringement, claiming that Kodak had used some of his technology. This led to one of the largest patent settlements in America, and forced Kodak out of the instant camera business.

Guest:

  • Ron Fierstein, author of the book, A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War

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