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History of the Camera: (1665 - Current)

Today, a person can purchase an inexpensive disposable camera down at the local grocery store or department store. Many of today's inexpensive cameras have a simple design enjoyed by professional and amateur photographers alike. Alternatively, people can go into a camera shop and buy a camera that challenges their skill and creativity as a photographer. Furthermore, a person can turn in a roll of film to a developer and have an envelope of photographs within a matter of days or even just a few short hours. Photographers with digital cameras have the option of printing out their own photographs on a home computer printer. For people who still prefer film cameras, camera film is available in black and white as well as in color. All of these conveniences are the result of the contributions made by the innovators and scientists who have contributed to the history of the camera.

In the early history of the camera, images were dark, unclear, and temporary. Many inventors worked on perfecting the clarity of an image as well as preserving it. Not surprisingly, the history of the camera contains a variety of camera designs, sizes, and helpful features. In the 21st century, inexpensive and easy-to-use cameras are available that are capable of producing still and action photographs with vibrant colors that will endure over decades of time. 

1665 - One of the earliest events in the history of photography is when Newton discovers that white light consists of various colors. 

1725 - (PDF) Johann Heinrich Schulze discovers that a silver and chalk mixture grows darker when exposed to light. Schulze's important discovery was the basis for further experimentation with silver by other inventors.

1807 - An early optical aid called the Camera Lucida is created by English inventor William Wollaston. Some artists use this technique in their work.

1814 - A Frenchman named Joseph Nicephore Niepce experiments with lithography which leads to the use of a camera obscura. Niepce is credited with taking the first photograph revealing the image of a courtyard. The photo had an eight-hour exposure. 

1837 - A French painter named Louis Daguerre develops a method of capturing an image using chemicals and a metal plate. He named the method a daguerreotype. The daguerreotype required less than 30 minutes of exposure to light.

1840 - Alexander Wolcott gets a U.S. patent for his camera invention. 

1840 - Englishman William Henry Talbot invents the Calotype. He experimented with the process of creating many positive images from one negative one. This significant discovery is important in the history of the camera because it contributed to the ability to create multiple copies of an image.

1851 - Inventor Fredrick Scott Archer creates the Collodion process. This process helped to significantly lessen the exposure time to approximately three seconds.

1859 - An English photographer named Thomas Sutton invents a panoramic camera that features a wide-angle lens.

1861 - The stereoscope viewer is popularized by Oliver Wendell Holmes. The optical device features two pictures set next to one another that are viewed through a special lens. This invention was very popular during the late nineteenth century into the early twentieth century.

1871 - Physician Richard Leach Maddox invents gelatin negative plates. This helped to make the image development process even more efficient.

1881 - Founding of the Eastman Dry Plate Company.

1884 - George Eastman creates a more flexible backing for photo film that is made of paper.

1888 - A camera with film that is wound over rollers is patented by George Eastman. This allows for even more ease in the use of a camera.

1898 - Celluloid photo film is patented by Hannibal Goodwin.

1900 - A portable camera called the "Brownie" was sold to the public by Eastman Kodak. This was the first camera to be mass marketed.

1913 - A 35mm still camera is developed.

1927 - The invention of the modern flashbulb by General Electric. This invention allows a photographer to take a picture in darker settings.

1935 - Kodachrome film is introduced by Eastman Kodak.

1947 - An American named Edwin Land invents the Polaroid Land Camera. 

1954 - High-speed Tri-X film is released by Kodak.

1960 - A camera that can withstand tremendous underwater depths is developed by EG&G for the United States Navy.

1963 - Instant color film is produced by Polaroid.

1968 - A photograph of the earth is taken from the perspective of the moon.

1972 - As indicated in this PDF timeline, during this year Polaroid releases its SX-70 Land camera that provides its user with instant color photos.

1978 - A point and shoot, auto focus camera is introduced by Konica.

1983 - The "disk camera" is introduced by Kodak. 

1986 - The first megapixel sensor is invented by Kodak.

1990 - A photo CD system is developed by the Eastman Kodak Company.

1992 - The release of the photo CD by Kodak enables people to store digital images.

1999 - The first digital camera with interchangeable lenses (DSLR) is released by Nikon.

2005 - YouTube is founded.

2008 - Polaroid discontinued all instant film products because of the gaining popularity of digital photography.

2009 – Kodachrome film is discontinued by Kodak.

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