Great Engineers & Scientists Blog

Great Engineers & Scientists

In 1676, Sir Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." In this blog, we take Newton's words to heart, and recognize the many great engineers and scientists upon whose shoulders we stand.

So who do you think of when you hear "Great Engineer"? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add him or her to the pantheon. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

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George Eastman

Posted May 08, 2006 10:30 AM
Pathfinder Tags: July 12 March 14

George Eastman was born on July 12, 1854 in the village of Waterville, New York. The son of a nursery owner, Eastman moved to Rochester at the age of five so that his father could start a commercial college. Tragedy struck, however, when Eastman's father died and young George was forced to quit school at the age of 14. To support his mother and sisters, Eastman worked as a courier by day and studied accounting at night. In 1874, he became a junior clerk at Rochester Savings Bank and saved enough money for a trip to Santa Domingo. Although Eastman ultimately canceled the journey, his interest in documenting the experience led him to study photography. While reading a British journal, Eastman learned of a formula for gelatin emulsions that could be used with photographic plates. After three long years of experimentation, Eastman perfected a dry-plate formula and a machine that could handle a large number of plates.

In 1880, Eastman leased part of a building and began to manufacture dry plates for distributors of photographic supplies. As picture-taking became more and more popular, Eastman researched ways to use lighter photographic films. His solution, gelatin-coated paper, allowed photographers to strip an image from the paper and transfer it to a sheet of clear gelatin for subsequent varnishing. Eastman also developed a mechanism for loading the paper into a holder. Having developed a technology that could replace costly and cumbersome photographic plates, Eastman registered his company's name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Although there are many accounts of the origin of the name "Kodak", Eastman himself stated that it simply reflected his desire to create a word that began and ended with his favorite letter, "K".

The company that Eastman founded took a pioneering approach to both mass marketing and management. Product demonstrations at trade exhibitions complemented traditional magazine and newspaper advertising. In 1897, the "Kodak" name shone brightly from an electric sign in London's Trafalgar Square. Back home in Rochester, Eastman issued wage dividends to workers and donated large sums of money to hospitals, dental clinics, and educational institutions. A lover of the arts, Eastman also founded a school of music which bears his name. Sadly, Eastman's later years were marked by pain and debilitation. Frustrated by the hardening of his lower spinal cord, George Eastman committed suicide on March 14, 1932 at the age of 77.

Resources: anTheMan.shtml .htm


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