November 9, 2009 – 9:30 am

kodakEastman Kodak Company is a multinational US corporation which produces a variety of products ranging from imaging and photographic materials and equipment to films, instant cameras and digital frames. Though it is best known for its wide range of photographic film products, Kodak is re-focusing to capture two major markets: digital photography and digital printing.

Kodak was founded by inventor George Eastman and businessman Henry A. Strong in Rochester, and Jamestown New York in 1899 and since then the company has gone places. As it stands today it is the multinational company with operations in almost every country. But the company was not always called Kodak, when it started it was called Eastman Dry Plate company and the General Aristo Company. Formed in 1899 the General Aristo Company started its operation in Jamestown New York, with George Eastman as treasurer, and this company purchased the stock of American Aristotype Company. The Eastman Dry Plate Company can be credited for coming up with the first cameras suitable for use by ordinary folks and, which do not require expert handling.  The Kodak Company is named after the first simple roll film cameras produced by Eastman Dry Plate Company, known as the “Kodak”. Since the camera can be used by anyone the product became a runaway success so much so that the word Kodak was incorporated into the company name. Since the word Kodak became a kind of new lingua franca for photography, George Eastman registered the trademark Kodak on September 4, 1888. The Eastman Kodak Company was born in 1892. The new company had its offices in Rochester, New York. George Eastman, Kodak’s founder, true to the functioning of the camera coined the advertising slogan, “You press the button, and we do the rest.” This slogan was a big hit.  In 1901 the Eastman Kodak Company procured the stock of General Aristo Company.

As for the name Kodak, the story goes with something like this. It’s been said that the letter “K” had been kind of Eastman’s personal favorite. In fact, he is been quoted as saying, “it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter”. There were mainly three reasons, which went into the creation of the name Kodak. They were

  1. There should be the short name.
  2. It should be clear so that nobody can mispronounce it.
  3. It should not resemble anything or be associated with anything other than Kodak.

Though there is another theory doing the rounds according to which the name “Kodak” was the brainchild of David Houston, a fellow photographic inventor who held the patents to several roll film camera concepts which he later sold to Eastman. The basis for this theory stems from the fact that Houston, who started receiving patents in 1881, chose “Nodak” as a nickname of his home state, North Dakota (NoDak). This is, however, not yet proven and there are historians who cite that Kodak was trademarked prior to Eastman buying Houston’s patents. As such nothing can be proven and Houston’s association with the name “Kodak” remains a mystery.
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In spite of the fact that Kodak has heavily reduced its professional still film ranges, it still remains the largest supplier of photographic films in the world, for the amateur, professional, and motion picture market. Kodak is making forays in the digital imaging market (which is stated to grow immensely) which lead it to announce that the company will no longer manufacture Kodachrome, a film product that, while arguably it’s most famous, will not be manufactured in the same manner that Kodak uses for other film products. That leaves only Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas, an independent facility, which processes Kodachrome, and it has agreed to continue developing rolls until 2010.

Photo printing

Silver halide (AgX) paper is used for printing from film and digital images and Kodak is the largest producer of silver halide.  Silver halide paper is used in minilabs, located in retail stores and larger central photo lab operations (CLOs), for photo printing. With a total of around 80,000 Picture Kiosks in retail locations worldwide, Kodak is automatically a leading global manufacturer of photo kiosks, which produce “prints in minutes” from digital sources. Not only this, in collaboration with retail partners like CVS, Walmart etc, Kodak markets Picture CDs and other photo products such as calendars, photo books and photo enlargements.

Technical Support

No company in today’s market can survive without a strong technical support. And Kodak does not fall short in this area also. It not only provides  technical phone support for their products but  Kodak also offers onsite service for  devices such as printers, microfilm and microfiche machines, and photocopiers, for which they duly send trained technicians who make repairs in the field.

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