Celluloid roll film, c 1890.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 32cm

Celluloid roll film, c 1890.

© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Celluloid was patented in the United States in 1870. When produced in thin film form, it made cinema posible and revolutionised photography. The first roll films look little different from those in use later. The celluloid film was backed by a strip of black paper marked with frame numbers. The first film spools were made of wood; metal replaced the timber core, and today film is rolled on plastic spools. The first commercial transparent roll film was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1889 for use in the No 1 Kodak camera.

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