Early Kodak Cameras

The Kodak brand name made its debut in 1888 to launch Eastman’s first camera. The Kodak box camera, priced at $25, was marketed with the slogan “You push the button, we do the rest” and came preloaded with a 100-exposure roll of stripping film. The completed film was returned inside the camera to Eastman Kodak for processing and reloading at a cost of $10. In 1889, the company was reconstituted as the Eastman Company and introduced a celluloid roll film, the first commercial transparent roll film. The first daylight-loading film and camera followed in 1891.

As business flourished in 1891, the company opened new factories in Rochester and in Harrow, near London, where it had established a British office in 1885. It was renamed the Eastman Kodak Company in 1892 and opened a separate camera factory in Rochester in 1893. The Pocket Kodak camera of 1895 brought a new feature, the exposure window, while the 1898 folding pocket Kodak camera established the 2.25-in-by-3.25-in negative as standard. Eastman Kodak began the twentieth century by creating a mass market for snapshot photography with the launch of the No. 1 Brownie box camera. Designed by Frank Brownell and made from wood and cardboard, the No. 1 Brownie cost just $1, with 6-frame roll films priced at 15 cents each. In 1908, the company brought out the world’s first commercial cellulose acetate film, described as safety film to distinguish it from highly flammable cellulose nitrate film. Eastman Kodak continued to expand its U.S. and overseas operations in the years prior to World War I. An Australian subsidiary was added to its British and French ones, and a research laboratory and new headquarters opened in Rochester.