(b Waterville, NY, July 12, 1854; d Rochester, NY, March 14, 1932).
American inventor and photographer. He took up photography in 1877, and in 1878, dissatisfied with the cumbersome wet collodion process, he started making the new gelatin dry plates (see Photography §I). He decided to manufacture them commercially and invented a machine to end the need to hand-coat the glass. In January 1881 he founded the Eastman Dry Plate Company.
Eastman’s desire to bring photography to more people, and to satisfy the needs of the growing number of amateur photographers, led him to develop many new products. In 1885 his roll-holder adaptor allowed the heavy and fragile glass plates to be replaced by a roll of sensitive paper; the success of this device inspired him to design a new camera with the roll-holder built in. The result was the Kodak camera (1888), for which Eastman chose the name; it was designed for the general public, who had only to point it in the right direction and release the shutter. When the 100-exposure roll provided with the camera had been exposed, the whole apparatus was returned to Eastman’s factory, where the paper rollfilm was developed and printed, the camera reloaded and returned to the customer; ‘You press the button, we do the rest’ was his slogan....