facts about the invention of
Instant Photography by Edwin
Herbert Land in 1947.
Erasmus Bartholin (1625-1698) was sent, in 1669, a
transparent crystal from Iceland (Iceland spar) and, by rotating the
crystal, he discovered that objects seen through it appeared double. He
correctly deduced that light traveling through the crystal was refracted
at two different angles. Today, these are still called the ordinary and
extraordinary rays. The explanation required the genius of Thomas Young
(1773-1829) to account for them some 150 years later: the two rays were
polarized at right angles to each other. William Nicol (1768-1851) had
the ingenious idea of cementing two crystals of Iceland spar together
with Canada balsam so that each ray was separated at right angles. The
resulting Nicol prism could then be used to measure the angle of
polarization of compounds, which later resulted in a profound
understanding of many aspects of chemistry.
Today, Nicol prisms are still very expensive, bulky and of limited
aperture. Edwin Land, when a Harvard freshman, conceived the idea that a
polarizer might be made by lining up a myriad of tiny crystals
(iodoquinine sulphate) in the same direction and embedding them in
transparent plastic which, when set, prevented the crystals from
drifting apart. The new polarizer was patented in 1929.
||The conventional photographic
process involves exposing light sensitive material, which in turn must
be developed, fixed, printed and the print developed and fixed, a
procedure which can take hours, (or days if the processing facility is
far from the place where the photo was taken.)
1947, a remarkable new system of developing and taking pictures was
introduced by American physicist Edwin Herbert Land (1909-1991).
|Land had left
Harvard after his freshman year to conduct his own research on the
polarization of light. Two years later, he invented a sheet
polarization filter which could be used on camera lenses to eliminate reflection and
glare. In 1937, Land founded the Polaroid Corporation to manufacture and market his
filters, lamps, window shades and sunglasses.
In February 1947, he introduced Polaroid
(polar-oid) instant film for use in his own Polaroid Land Camera. The Land camera
(patent #2,543,181) was first offered for sale on November 26th, 1948. Polaroid film
processes chemicals in a flat, hermetically sealed compartment attached to the
photosensitive paper. A pair of pressure rollers spreads the chemicals uniformly across
the paper when exposed, and the completed print is ready a minute later. In 1963, Land
introduced Polacolor, a full color film, which could be processed in less than a minute.
In 1972, the "SX-70" replaced the wet, peel-apart
development process with dry films that developed in light. (Land even created an instant
color movie-making system, "Polavision," in 1978; but this never enjoyed the
commercial success of his still-photography cameras.)
Edwin Herbert Land
from The Great Idea Finder
from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
That Shaped World History
by Bill Yenne, Morton, Dr. Grosser (Editor) / Paperback - 112 pages (1983) / Bluewood Books
This book contains inventions from all around the world from microchips to fire. This is a
really good book if you are going to do research on inventions.
Illustrated History of Inventions From the Wheel to the Computer
by Edward De Bono / Hardcover - 248 pages (1974) / Thames & Hudson
A marvelous array of history's and prehistory's most important and intriquing
Insisting On the Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land
by Victor K. McElheny / Paperback: 510 pages / Perseus Pr (October 1, 1999)
Follow Land's career from before the founding of Polaroid in 1937 through the release of
the landmark SX-70 camera in the early '70s. Land invented instant photography and turned
his company into a tremendous success and a Wall Street darling in the '60s and '70s.
by Kathleen Thormod Carr / Paperback: 192 pages / Amphoto (July 2002)
With the growing interest in alternative photographic processes, especially Polaroid
techniques such as image and emulsion transfer, Polaroid Manipulations is one of the only
complete guides available to help readers master this area of photographic art.
Innovation/Imagination: 50 Years of Polaroid Photography
by Barbara Hitchcock (Intro.), Deborah Klochko / Hardcover-120 pages / Harry N Abrams
This book brings together 82 superb works from the Polaroid collection that present an
overview of the past 50 years of photography.
ON THE SCREEN:
Captured Light: The Invention of Still Photography
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00 /
The development of the still camera was one of the most significant
advances of the age of invention. The captured image has transformed the
way we see our world, preserving moments forever with the push of a
ON THE WEB:
Octorber 1996 Edwin Herbert Land (1909-1991) Instant Photography
Polaroid Land at Harvard
While not an official biography, the following is reprinted at
the Rowland Institute at Harvard
with the kind permission of the Royal Society. Article by F.W. Campbell.
The official site of the company built on instant photograpy and Land's genuis.
Inventors Hall of Fame
Edwin Herbert Land was inducted in 1977 for Photographic Product Comprising a Rupturable
Container Carrying a Photographic Processing Liquid Photography (Patent Number 2,543,181).
HOW IT WORKS:
Polaroid film processes chemicals in a flat, hermetically
sealed compartment attached to the photosensitive paper. A pair of pressure rollers
spreads the chemicals uniformly across the paper when exposed, and the completed print is
ready a minute later.
DID YOU KNOW:
- Edwin Land (with over 500 to his credit) stands
fifth in the number of U.S. patents granted..
Sources in BOLD Type
page revised January, 2005.
Berners-Lee's invention has revolutionized the world like nothing
The invention of the Internet,
should be classed with the greatest events of the 20th Century.
The Aero Sport All-Terrain Bed
with Dual Power Pump is the perfect addition to any camping trip or weekend
book, is the perfect desktop reference for both the science novice and the
technologically advanced reader alike.
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