The Eastman Kodak Connection
To the layman, the best-known pioneer in the evolution of the American film industry is Thomas Alva Edison. Yet his supposed position as the father of the motion picture can easily be challenged, not by his relatively unknown associate W. K. L. Dickson (who is deserving of the credit for most of Edison's inventions in this field), but by George Eastman ( 1854- 1932), whose introduction of transparent roll film in 1889 made practical motion picture photography a reality. The film was a strip of clear cellulose nitrate, two-and-a-half inches or 70mm wide, coated with black- and-white photographic emulsion; Edison split the film in two for use in his camera and projector, creating the theatrical film standard gauge of 35mm, although it was not completely recognized as such until 1903. In 1892, George Eastman renamed his company Eastman Kodak, and it remains to the present the most famous name in the history of motion picture and still photography. George Eastman is one of a handful of American industrialists whose names have become household words, perhaps the only one whose name has symbolized quality and reliability for more than one hundred years.
In 1888, George Eastman introduced his first Kodak roll film camera, choosing a trade name that could be spelled and pronounced simply in any language and that began and ended with his favorite letter, K. Along with the camera, Eastman introduced a slogan which has continued in popular usage down the years, "You press the button--we do the rest."