Skip to main content

Roll of film that started consumer photography in the 1880s returns to its roots

museum acquires kodak original film bt3elmerjvpmeivdh0yd
George Eastman Museum
While most Americans now carry a tiny camera in their pockets, the oldest roll of the film that started consumer photography now sits quietly inside a New York museum. The George Eastman Museum recently acquired what’s considered to be the last known roll of Kodak Original 1888 film, putting it on display July 11.

The film was used in Kodak’s first camera, called simply the Kodak camera. Each roll of film took 100 2.5-inch circular images. When the camera was released with the slogan “You press the button, we do the rest” they meant it — consumers sent the entire camera back in to be processed, and for $10, received the images back and the camera loaded with a new roll of film. The camera itself sold for $25 at the time.

Related Videos

The film was also where Kodak first became successful after earlier attempts to reach the professional photography market fell flat. Kodak’s first professional film was introduced in 1885.

Along with the original consumer film roll, the museum also acquired a 1889 roll of transparent film, used with the same original Kodak camera. That slightly newer roll of film is one of only three known rolls remaining, and it’s still in its original box, unopened. The transparent film was also used in early motion-picture experiments, according to the museum.

“The debut of Eastman’s American Film and Transparent Film in the late 1880s was the beginning of snapshot photography, and a turning point for the company and the city of Rochester,” said Todd Gustavson, the museum’s technology curator. “We have always kept an eye out for film manufactured in the late 1880s to complete our collection of objects related to the first-generation Kodak camera. We jumped at the chance to bring these two boxes home to Rochester.”

The film joins the museum’s original camera, case, box, and sample photos. Fielding Director Bruce Barnes says the film is one of the most important additions to the museum’s technology collection because of its importance in the role and evolution of consumer photography.

The film joins a collection of photography and cinema items numbering in the millions inside Rochester’s George Eastman Museum, located on the estate of the Kodak founder and the museum’s namesake.

Editors' Recommendations

Watch the Galaxy S22 Ultra survive getting run over by a car
Galaxy S22 Ultra in burgandy.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra might just be the most durable phone Samsung has ever released if some of the most recent durability tests are to be believed.

YouTube channel PBKreviews tested both the S22 and the S22 Ultra and graded each device based on how resilient they were to a gauntlet of torture tests. After performing a plethora of tests including scratching the phones with a boxcutter and submerging them underwater, PBKreviews rated both new devices highly, with the S22 scoring a 10/10 and the S22 Ultra scoring a 9.5/10.

Read more
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 could be getting the S22 Ultra’s S Pen
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 display turned off and device lying on leaves.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, the next-gen Samsung foldable, could get an S Pen slot built right into the body of the smartphone. In 2021, the company brought S Pen capabilities to the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but it didn't give an S Pen slot (like that found on the Note series) to the two devices. Samsung diminished the lines between the S and Note flagship series by bringing the S Pen slot to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and it seems like the feature is making its way to the next Galaxy foldable.

According to The Elec, Samsung has finalized its plans for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to include a designated S Pen slot in the foldable phone. It will be an upgrade over the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which had support for the S Pen, which had to be stored in a cover, which sells as a separate accessory. The S Pen is also likely to come in the box with the Galaxy Z Fold 4, since it will be stored in the smartphone itself.

Read more
Samsung tweaks Galaxy S22 refresh rate specs before release
Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus screens side-by-side.

Samsung has quietly changed display specs for the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus less than two weeks before the launch of the new flagship lineup. When the S22 series was first revealed during February's Galaxy Unpacked 2022, Samsung's marketing boasted that the phones' screens would have variable refresh rates to optimize battery life dipping as low as 1Hz per second. This detail has been backtracked as the display information in the most recent press releases states that the refresh rate now ranges from 48Hz to 120Hz.

Variable refresh rates are a pretty big deal as they can greatly lengthen the battery life of a device by dropping the rate when displaying things such as ebooks, pictures, or web content. For phones, a device where every minute of charge counts, the Galaxy S22's reduced range could make a big difference for some users.

Read more