Every one of us, in some way, has had our lives impacted by George Eastman. Founding Eastman Kodak in 1888, he set out to change how people photographed. He began by creating the first roll of film in 1884 - a departure from the traditional method of using glass plates and a sink. One year later, he put that roll of film into the first Eastman camera. These were the first steps of a 20-year quest that would lead him to his most iconic camera...the Brownie.
The Kodak name came from Eastman's penchant for the letter "K" - its sound was something he found to be "strong and unyielding." The Brownie sold for $1.15 in 1900, the year it came out (still only $32 in today's money). Film cost 15 cents. Even with the wild success of the Brownie, Eastman continued creating cameras until he developed a debilitating spinal condition. In the end, the pain became too much, and he shot himself in the heart, leaving a note that read, "My work is done – Why wait? GE."
Eastman was one of the greatest philanthropists of his time, donating more than $100 million dollars, mostly towards health related causes and education.