Edwin Land- The Inventor of Polaroid Photography

By Anika Logan
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A man named Edwin Herbert Land who devoted his life to optical research, invented instant photography or Polaroid photography. Mr. Land who lived from May 7, 1909 until March 1, 1991 created optical systems for the military during World War II as well as proposing a color perception theory he called the "Retinex Theory." But his greatest accomplishment was his founding of the Polaroid Corporation in 1937 to manufacture his cameras, which were a true novelty in the world of film.

His first camera was on store shelves in November of 1948 but the biggest strides in his business were to come in the sixties.

In the 1960's

Pairing up with the Henry Dreyfuss design company in 1960, the inventor's Automatic 100 Land camera was born. It was a remarkable invention for its time and became popular with the public very quickly when it reached stores in 1963. The concept of instant color photos, inspired by the words of his young daughter, changed the entire way film was being developed. It was revolutionary for its time.

But it didn't end there. In 1965 Land manufactured another camera that he called the Polaroid Swinger camera. This camera was cheap by today's standards, under twenty dollars, but it was so popular that stores could hardly keep them in stock. Everyone wanted to get his or her hands on one.

The Inventor's Work

Six honorary doctorates were bestowed upon Edwin Land during his lifetime and in United States history he was the only person, next to Thomas Edison, to be granted as many patents as he was (over five hundred). He was thought so highly of, and his work valued to the point where he was awarded the highest honor that can ever be granted to U.S. civilians, that of the Medal of Freedom.

Even with the advent of digital photography, Polaroid cameras still enjoy a fair amount of success in today's world and can be purchased anywhere electronics are sold.

Anika Logan is a Canadian based writer whose work has been published extensively over the Internet and in print. Her website can be seen at www.gardenandhearth.com/apartmentliving.htm.

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