The Polaroid Instant camera has made an incredible comeback, which is an amazing achievement as many gadgets that have retired remain that way forever. Typically when gadgets are retired, or discarded they never have a second chance. However, the popularity of the Polaroid has ensured that it has been redeveloped and re-launched. The history surrounding the Polaroid is fascinating, and will elaborate on why this camera is so special.
1920’s- Edwin Land was asked by his daughter “Why does all photographic development take a long time” This question encouraged him to solve this problem by creating the first synthetic polarizer sheet, which he rapidly patented.
1930’s- research and development continued throughout Edwin’s Laboratory, which he founded in Boston, Texas. Whilst introducing new materials, Edwin created the perfect camera filter, and Polaroid glasses, which Kodak purchased. The Polaroid Corporation was soon founded, and the announcement of the Vectograph 3D was exciting for everyone.
1940’s- Edwin began to research further when his daughter asked “why can I not see them straight away?” This prompted the SX-70 project, which explored the possibilities of instant film, and soon after the first instant camera went on sale. The Polaroid 95 was named as the cost to purchase was $95, and by the end of the war, sales had increased to over $16 million.
1950’s- The company produced their 1 millionth roll of the film, which was an incredible landmark, alongside the new films being introduced. Type 41 and Type 1001 were introduced, and a coating was produced to stop the prints fading. There were also new models being made, including the 110 Pathfinder and the 80 Highlander. Sales are expanded to Europe and Canada, and the first televised commercials were aired.
1960’s- The 4 millionth camera is produced, and the larger Model 900 is created, allowing automatic exposure. The first Japanese store opens its doors with huge success, alongside the first colour film, which proves to be incredibly popular. Instant portrait photos are now available, which will change the industry forever.
1970’s- Sales reach an amazing $500 million, and the Automatic series are launched allowing people to have a higher quality camera. The company does experience a downturn, and stock trends plummet to the lowest they have ever been since the 1950’s. Kodak is sued during this period for copyright infringement.
1980’s- Edwin decided to retire from Polaroid, however, the work continues, and the SX-70 undergoes a revamp. The case against Kodak is won, and Spectra Cameras become a popular addition for law enforcement officers.
1990’s- Kodak is ordered to pay $925 million to Polaroid and a new professional camera is introduced, providing better features. Sadly Edwin lands dies in this period, but his ideas continue to be developed. Polaroid teams up with the Spice Girls, to launch the Spice Cam.
2000’s- In an attempt to stop people switching to digital there are new models introduced, however, the company begin to file bankruptcy proceedings. The company is acquired by Equity One, and then passed to Petter’s Group Worldwide who decides to discontinue the film.
The decision was made to cease production of any further products. However, in 2009 it was announced that instant cameras are back, and that some of the original range is to be re-launched. These cameras have new and improved features and are available in high street stores. There is so much history behind Polaroid, and many people want to join in the debate through the write for us section.