The first Kodak camera, 1888.
© NMeM / Royal Photographic Society / Science & Society Picture Library
The Kodak, invented by George Eastman (1854-1932), is perhaps the most significant commercial camera ever produced. The important feature of the Kodak was not the camera itself but the new photographic system marketed to support it. It was sold pre-loaded with enough film to take 100 photographs. After the film had been exposed, the camera was posted to the factory where the film was developed and printed, the negatives and a set of prints then being returned to the owner together with fresh film. In the past photographers had to process their own film. In 1900 the Kodak 'Brownie' camera was introduced, with a selling price of only $1 in the United States (5 shillings in Britain), bringing photography to a mass market.