Polaroid: Life and Death of Arevolutionary Camera


Polaroid film and camera were invented by Edwin Land, an American inventor, best known later to be the co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation. Around 1929 in New York City he invented the first inexpensive filters capable of polarizing light,consisting of many microscopic crystals of iodoquinine sulphate (heraphite) embedded in a transparent nitrocellulose film.
In 1932 he established the Land-Wheelwright Laboratories together with his Harvard physics instructor to commercialize his polarizing technology. Although the initial major application was for sunglasses and scientific work, it quickly found many additional applications: for colour animation in the Wurlitzer850 Peacock jukebox of 1942, for glasses in full-color stereoscopic (3-D) movies, to control brightness of light through a window, a necessary component of all LCDs and many more. For this reason Land obtained funding from a series of Wall Street investors for further expansion. The company was renamed the Polaroid Corporation in 1937. Land further developed and produced the sheet polarisers under the Polaroid trademark.

The first Polaroid camera to be sold to the public was Polaroid Land Camera Model 95, which produced prints in about 1 minute, out in November 1948,   usually known just as 'Land camera'.
Polaroid cameras can be classified by the type of film they use. The earliest Polaroids (pre-1963) used instant roll film, which has since been discontinued. Roll film came in two rolls (positive/developing agent and negative) which were loaded into the camera and eventually offered in three sizes (40, 30, and 20 series). Later cameras utilized "pack film," which required the photographer to pull the film out of the camera for development, then peel apart the positive from the negative at the end of the developing process. Pack film initially was offered in a rectangular format (100 series), then in square format (80 series). Later Polaroids,...