September 04, 2009

SEPTEMBER 4 - The birth of billions of “Kodak Moments”

On September 4, 1888, the name “Kodak” was registered as a trademark by American inventor and entrepreneur George Eastman (1954-1932).

Soon thereafter, it became a household word.

Around the same time, Eastman was granted a U.S. patent for his pioneering roll-film still camera. A version was soon named and being sold as the Kodak “Brownie.”

The Brownie was a very big deal at the time, because it was the first camera that could easily be used and afforded by almost anyone. It was light and small, and it was the first relatively simple point-and-shoot camera.

The Brownie came pre-loaded with a roll of film. When all the shots were taken, the owner sent the camera to a Kodak factory, where the film was processed. Then the prints were sent back to the owner along with the camera, reloaded with a new roll of film.

Eastman promoted the Brownie with a slogan he coined. It soon became famous worldwide: “You press the button. We do the rest.”

Eastman also coined the name “Kodak” itself. He apparently made it up out of thin air with the help of his mother. He wanted some word that was short, unlike any other word or product name and easily pronounceable in all languages. And, for some reason,“K” was his favorite letter.

When he registered the trademark for the name on September 4, 1888, he probably couldn’t have guessed how famous it would become.

The Kodak company later implanted the now ubiquitous phrase “Kodak moment” into our language, through an ad campaign that began in 1993.

At that time, execs at Kodak probably couldn’t have guessed that digital cameras would soon change photography in a way as revolutionary as the Brownie did a century ago.

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