A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War

By Ronald K. Fierstein

Apple founder Steve Jobs as soon as hailed Edwin Land, the founding father of Polaroid and the daddy of immediate images, as "a nationwide treasure" and as soon as confessed to a reporter that assembly Land was once "like traveling a shrine." through his personal admission, Jobs modeled a lot of his personal profession after Land’s. either Jobs and Land stand out at the present time as distinct and towering figures within the heritage of know-how. Neither had a faculty measure, yet either outfitted hugely winning and cutting edge firms. Jobs and Land have been either perfectionists with a nearly enthusiast attentiveness to element, as well as being consummate showmen and instinctive agents. in lots of methods, Edwin Land was once the unique Steve Jobs.

This riveting new biography visits the stunning lifetime of Edwin Land, might be an important, but least recognized inventor and know-how entrepreneur in American historical past. Land’s most famed fulfillment was once the production of a innovative movie and digital camera procedure that may produce a photographic print moments after the image used to be taken.
A Triumph of Genius takes you behind the curtain of this reclusive genius’s discoveries, triumphs, and defeats.

You'll examine information of Land’s involvement over 4 a long time with top-secret U.S. army intelligence efforts in the course of international conflict II and during the chilly conflict within the provider of 7 American presidents. also, you are going to thrill to the compelling first-hand examine considered one of our nation’s most crucial criminal battles over highbrow property—Polaroid as opposed to Kodak. This company and criminal fight is a narrative of just about operatic measurement. What begun as a cooperative and collegial courting resulted in Kodak’s betrayal. The clash ended in an epic felony conflict, a dramatic occasion for Land who, from the witness stand, individually starred in a compelling court drama.

More than an easy enterprise biography, A Triumph of Genius chronicles the fellow and the icon whose technological brilliance cleared the path for one more of the 20th century’s maximum innovators, Steve Jobs.

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Land took the level and brought a movie entitled The Horn Blows at the hours of darkness. It used to be approximately an angel, performed by way of Jack Benny, on a challenge to Earth. Land’s description of the movie used to be most likely extra interesting than enlightening: [The movie is] a couple of topic i can't check with you approximately . . . I’m now not loose, in different phrases, to inform you whatever approximately SX-70 for a few months, yet what occurs during this motion picture occurs in heaven, and that i can’t see why i'm answerable for whatever you discovered from heaven. for those who hold your wits approximately you, and if you’re stable detectives within the manner our magician taught us to be, you can find close to the tip of this motion picture whatever that could most likely recommend to you what SX-70 is. sixty six With that, the home went darkish and the movie started. At one element within the movie, an angel wishes a passport picture. a wide studio digicam is determined up, the shutter is snapped and, miraculously, the passport photograph emerges at once from the digital camera. instantly, suddenly, the movie stopped, and the home lighting got here again on. status at the level was once Land, who introduced in a “tone of euphoria . . . ‘That’s SX-70! ’”67 His viewers left the theater extra careworn than trained. (See Fig. 3-4. ) determine 3-4: Land on degree in a Cambridge movie show giving his mysterious 1946 Christmas Eve presentation of SX-70 to Polaroid staff. Courtesy of Polaroid company documents inside of a number of weeks, notwithstanding, Land made up our minds to make his one-step images procedure public. Land prepared an illustration on the iciness assembly of the Optical Society of the US, to be held on the resort Pennsylvania in long island urban on February 21, 1947. As a part of that occasion, a paper at the expertise needed to be provided on the assembly. Land enlisted the aid of Elizabeth McCune, William McCune’s spouse, to aid placed that rfile jointly. William McCune labored with Land and some others to construct a few targeted cameras for the demonstration. One was once a wide structure digital camera fixed on a tripod that may produce eight-by-ten-inch prints big enough for a gaggle to determine. This digicam was once motorized in order that the elements of the movie have been moved during the digital camera routinely. in addition they equipped a couple of hand-held cameras which may be utilized by a number of the Polaroid humans to take images of individuals on the assembly. sixty eight The cameras equipped for the demonstration required a double loading operation. On one finish, a roll of unexposed unfavorable used to be loaded. This adverse differed from traditional movie in that it was once lined on paper rather than a plastic base. this may enable the damaging to be pulled from the digital camera with out exposing it additional. at the different finish, the place the uncovered movie could typically be wound up and picked up in a regular digital camera, a roll of photographic printing paper was once loaded. That paper had pods of processing fluid fixed on it in predetermined durations. simply above the paper roll used to be a couple of metal rollers, by which either the destructive and the paper rolls have been threaded. within the hand-held versions, after the picture used to be taken, a knob was once became at the outdoors of the digicam to begin the processing.

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