October 14, 1884
George Eastman receives a patent on his paper-strip photographic film. Prior to the invention of photographic film, photography was primarily done using “wet plates,” which was cumbersome, expensive, and not easy to transport. The invention of photographic film made photography much simpler and portable. Interestingly adoption among the professional photographers of the time was slow, likely because they didn’t see an advantage of moving from wet plates in studio work. Only when Eastman started to market his film and cameras to the general public did photographic film become popular.
Besides the invention of photographic film, Eastman was also instrumental in advancing photographic technology in the late 1800’s and making it accessible to anyone who wanted to take pictures. He would later found the Eastman Kodak company based on the success of his photographic film and camera technology. Before the days of digital photography, film was inseparable from the art and skillset of photography for nearly 130 years.