He was born in Waterville, New York to George Washington Eastman and Maria Eastman ,the youngest child, at the 10-acre farm which his parents boughtin 1849. He had two older sisters, Ellen Maria and Katie. He was largely self-educated, although he attended a private school in Rochester after the age of eight. As his father's health starteddeteriorating, the family gave up the farm and moved to Rochester in 1860. His father died of a brain disorder in May 1862. George Eastman left school early and started working.
He began his businesscareer as a 14-year old office boy in an insurance company and followed that with work as a clerk in a local bank. He studied accounting at home evenings to get a better paying job.
He read in Britishmagazines that photographers were making their own gelatin emulsions. Plates coated with this emulsion remained sensitive after they were dry and could be exposed at leisure. Using a formula taken fromone of these British journals, Eastman began making gelatin emulsions.
He worked at the bank during the day and experimented at home in his mother's kitchen at night.
After three years ofphotographic experiments, Eastman had a formula that worked. By 1880, he had not only invented a dry plate formula, but had patented a machine for preparing large numbers of the plates. He quickly recognizedthe possibilities of making dry plates for sale to other photographers.
In 1884 Eastman patented the first film in roll form to prove practicable; in 1888 he perfected the Kodak camera, the firstcamera designed specifically for roll film. In 1892 he established the Eastman Kodak Company, at Rochester, New York, one of the first firms to mass-produce standardized photography equipment. Thiscompany also manufactured the flexible transparent film, devised by Eastman in 1889, which proved vital to the subsequent development of the motion picture industry.
He was also one of the...