George Eastman: The Kodak king
Imagine carrying a box the size of a microwave with a tripod strong enough to support a bungalow, glass plates, a variety of chemicals, a dark tent and a container of water, just to take a few grainy photographs. That's the way it was done in the late 1800s until George Eastman introduced a small camera so simple a child could use it. His slogan, "You press the button, we do the rest," heralded a new age of photography. Eastman was born in 1854 in Waterville, N.Y. His father had a small commercial nursery in Waterville and a business college in Rochester. Traveling weekly between these two cities, more than a hundred miles apart, took its toll on his health, and the family moved to Rochester. His father died when Eastman was 8, leaving the family destitute. The Eastmans struggled to survive, barely eking out a living. Eastman, 14, dropped out of school to help support the family, first working for insurance companies and then as a junior bookkeeper for Rochester Savings Bank.