Remember the days of going to the store and buying a roll of film for your camera? Well on September 4th 1888, the first roll of film for a camera was patented by George Eastman.
We owe a lot to George Eastman, the man who helped weave photography into mainstream culture and popularized the use of roll film. He founded Eastman Kodak Company later more widely known simply as Kodak a time-honored institution that served the needs of film photographers for several decades.
You might be wondering how on earth Eastman came up with such a name as unique as (Kodak), the letter “K” was apparently a favorite of Eastman. He was quoted “it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter.” The rest of the letters were determined and word was created with his mother’s help, using an anagram set.
George Eastman never married. He was close to his mother, and to his sister and her family. He had a long platonic relationship with Josephine Dickman, a trained singer and the wife of business associate George Dickman, becoming especially close to her after the death of his mother, Maria Eastman, in 1907. He was also an avid traveler and had a passion for playing the piano.
In his final two years, Eastman was in intense pain caused by a disorder affecting his spine. He had trouble standing, and his walk became a slow shuffle.
Today, it might be diagnosed as a form of degenerative disease such as disc herniation’s from trauma or age causing either painful nerve root compressions, or perhaps a type of lumbar spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal caused by calcification in the vertebrae.
Since his mother suffered the final two years of her life in a wheelchair she also may have had a spine condition but that is uncertain. Only her uterine cancer and successful surgery is documented in her health history.
If she did have a musculoskeletal disorder, perhaps George Eastman’s spine condition may have been due to a congenital disease, known to be inheritable but usually presenting earlier in age.
Eastman grew increasingly depressed due to his pain, reduced ability to function, and also since he had witnessed his mother’s suffering from pain.
On March 14, 1932, Eastman committed suicide with a single gunshot through the heart, leaving a note which read, “To my friends, my work is done – Why wait?”
However today is not a day to remember of sadness on how George Eastman had died, but remember the legacy he left for us behind, as we move into the digital world of cameras?
How can we forget what buying a roll of film was like, as we remember today’s day to remember.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell