George Eastman, 1854–1932, American inventor, industrialist, and philanthropist, b. Waterville, N.Y. By mass production of his photographic inventions, Eastman enormously stimulated the development of photography as a popular hobby. He invented a dry-plate process and established (1880) a factory at Rochester, N.Y., for making the plates; he devised a roll film and the Kodak camera (1888) to use it, as well as a process for color photography (1928). The Eastman Kodak Company, founded in 1892, was one of the first firms in America to establish a plant for large-scale production of a standardized product and to maintain a fine chemical laboratory; its progressive welfare program included a profit-sharing plan. Eastman's philanthropies were estimated at over $100 million: the principal recipients were the Univ. of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tuskegee and Hampton institutes, Rochester Dental Dispensary, and dental clinics in several European capitals. In 1932 after a long illness Eastman committed suicide.
See biographies by C. W. Ackerman (1930, repr. 1973) and B. Mitchell (1986).