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Fascinating facts about Edwin Herbert Land inventor of Polaroid Land Camera in 1947 Edwin Land
Inventor: Edwin Herbert Land
Portrait of Edwin Land courtesy Polaroid Corporation
Criteria: First to invent. First to patent. Entrepreneur.
Birth: May 7, 1909 in Bridgeport, Connecticut
Death: March 1, 1991
Nationality: American

Edwin Herbert Land, American physicist and inventor, born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. While a freshman at Harvard University in 1926, he became interested in polarized light (light oriented in a plane with respect to the source). Taking a leave of absence, he developed a new kind of polarizer, which he called Polaroid, by aligning and embedding crystals in a plastic sheet. Land returned to Harvard at the age of 19 but left again in his senior year to found a laboratory nearby. Joined by other young scientists, he applied the polarizing principle to light filters, optical devices, and motion picture processes.

In 1937 the group became the Polaroid Corporation with Land as president and head of research. During World War II the corporation turned to military tasks, inventing infrared filters, dark-adaptation goggles, and target finders. In the late 1940s it introduced the first model of its most successful product, the self-developing Polaroid Land camera; it also put out a microscope for viewing living cells in natural color. For his contributions to the fields of polarized light, photography, and color perception, Land received numerous awards and honorary degrees.


Invention of I
nstant Photography  from The Great Idea Finder
Communication History   from The Great Idea Finder


Innovation/Imagination : 50 Years of Polaroid Photography  (OUT OF PRINT)
by Deborah Klochko Barbara Hitchcock / Hardcover - 120 pages / Harry N Abrams - 1999
Polaroid Transfers : A Complete Visual Guide to Creating Image and Emulsion Transfers
by Kathleen Thormod Carr / Paperback - 160 pages / Amphoto - 1997

Captured Light: The Invention of Still Photography
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00 / Also VHS
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 button.


Official company Web site with products information and company history.
Polaroid History
Polaroid brand timeline at the company site. Learn the history of one of America's most widely recognized brand names.
Encarta Encyclopedia
The online version is your gateway to 16,000 abriged references, articles and world atlas.
Instant Photography
Edwin Herbert Land (1909-1991)
from the Lemelson-MIT Inventor of the Week Program.
Rowland Institute for Science
Founded in 1980 by Edwin Herbert Land, The Rowland Institute for Science is a private, nonprofit organization with a broad charter to conduct basic research in all the sciences. The mission of the Institute is to conduct research on problems that are, to use Land’s phrase, manifestly important and nearly impossible.
National Inventors Hall Of Fame
Edwin Herbert Land was inducted in 1977 for his invention "Photographic Product Comprising a Rupturable Container Carrying a Photographic Processing Liquid", Patent No. 2,543,181


  • In the matter of U.S. patents granted, Land (with over 500 to his credit) stands second only to Thomas Edison.

  • Land's contributions can perhaps best be gauged by the fact that he was awarded the Medal of Freedom---the highest honor granted to civilians in the U.S.

  • US Patent No.2,435,720 -- Apparatus for exposing and processing photographic film

Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised on October 12, 2006.

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