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The Camera and Photography

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First American Daguerreotype

First American Daguerreotype

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The last half century of the 1800s saw great advances in photography and photoengraving. While the first experiments in photography happened in Europe, Samuel Morse, introduced photography to America, in particular to his friend John Draper. Draper had a part in the perfection of the dry plate (the first negatives) and was one of the first photographers to do portrait photography.

George Eastman

A great inventor in photographic technology was George Eastman from Rochester, New York. In 1888, George Eastman introduced a new camera, which he called Kodak, and with it the sales slogan: "You press the button, we do the rest." The first Kodak camera was pre-loaded with a roll of sensitized paper (film) that could take a hundred pictures. A film roll that could be sent away for developing and printing (at first the entire camera was sent). Eastman had been an amateur photographer when the hobby was both expensive and tedious. After inventing a method of making dry plates, he began to manufacture them as early as 1880 before invented roll film.

After the first Kodak, there came other cameras filled with rolls of sensitized nitro-cellulose film. The invention of cellulose film (that replaced the glass dry plate) revolutionized photography. Both Reverend Hannibal Goodwin and George Eastman patented nitro-cellulose film, however, after a court battle Goodwin's patent was upheld as being first.

The Eastman Kodak Company introduced the first film cartridge which could be inserted or removed without the need of a dark room, that created a boom in the market for amateur photographers.

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