The Great Scientific Discoveries – Part 6

“Difficulties are things that show a person what they are.”
Epictetus

Courtesy of siflippant:

The advancement of the sciences is not the only factor affecting discoveries, the economic and political necessities of the time are another. It is impossible, however, to ignore the rule of chance in the fate of a discovery. Whatever the role of luck, it must not be over-estimated, and we should acknowledge that a large part must be played by the attitude of the researcher and his observation skills. A stroke of luck there may be, but in scientific research, it is not purely accidental.

Before Photography (courtesy of George Eastman Museum):

 

GEORGE EASTMAN

12 July 1854  –  14 March 1932

In its first fifty years, photography was the preserve of a relatively small number of professionals and enthusiastic amateurs. It was expensive, time-consuming, awkward, and very specialised. All that changed in 1888, when American inventor George Eastman began selling a cheaper camera, which was also easier to use.

George Eastman was born on a small farm in New York State, USA. When he was five years old, the family moved to the city of Rochester, also in New York. His father died when George was just eight years old, and the family fell on hard times. As a result, George had to leave school aged 13, to find a job. He was keen to learn, though, and was mainly self-taught.

Rochester, New York

Courtesy of Ryan Green:

Eastman’s interest in photography was sparked at age 24 when, while working as a bank clerk, he planned a trip abroad. A colleague suggested he take a record of his trip, so Eastman bought a camera. The camera was a large, unwieldy box, which had to be mounted on a heavy tripod, and instead of film, there were individual glass plates that had to be coated with light-sensitive emulsion in situ and held in large plate holders. For outdoor shots, the plates had to be prepared in a portable tent that doubled as a dark room.

In 1878, Eastman read about ‘dry plates’, invented in 1871 by the English photographer Richard Leach Maddox. The emulsion was sealed onto the plates with gelatine. These plates could be stored, then used whenever desired, making obsolete much of the equipment Eastman had bought. While he was still working at the bank, Eastman devoted all his spare time to finding the perfect way to mass-produce dry plates.

Above is a dry-plate camera

In 1880, Eastman set up the Eastman Dry Plate Company. He began making and selling dry plates in 1881 and soon realised that glass could be replaced by a lighter, flexible material. In 1884, he had the idea of making the flexible plate into a roll. A roll holder could be mounted in place of the plate holder inside the camera. His first camera to feature a roll film, dubbed the ‘detective camera’, became available in 1885. The roll was made of paper, but this was far from ideal since the grain of the paper showed up on the prints. Meanwhile, other people were working on flexible dry plates, too. Several experimented with a material called nitrocellulose, also known as celluloid. Eastman began selling celluloid film in 1889. Eastman’s real stroke of genius was his realisation that to be successful, he would need to expand the market for photography, and that would mean, in Eastman’s own words, making photography ‘as convenient as a pencil’. To do that, he had to invent a new, smaller, affordable camera. In 1888, the first Kodak camera went on sale. It was an immediate success.

Below is Eastman’s first camera, the Kodak

The camera came loaded with a roll able to record 100 photographs. Once a camera’s owner had taken the pictures, he or she had only to send the camera to Eastman’s company and wait for the pictures and for the return of the camera, newly loaded with film. The key to Kodak’s success was changing the perception of photography to something that anyone could do it. Eastman had a simple phrase that did just that: ‘You just press the button, we do the rest’.

The first camera with mass-market appeal, the Kodak, retailed at $25 (5 shillings in the UK).  This was only half what Eastman paid for the first camera he bought, but it was still prohibitively expensive for everyday photography. In 1900, the Eastman Kodak  Company introduced the first of its most successful range of cameras: The Brownie. Eastman Kodak made and sold 99 different models of Brownies between 1900 and 1980.

The first Brownie was a cardboard box that contained a roll holder, a roll of film, and a lens. On the outside, there was a shutter button and a spool winder. The epitome of simplicity. It sold for just $1 (equivalent to about $20 in 2010) and brought in the era of the ‘snapshot’ – a photograph taken without preparation that can capture a moment in time which would otherwise be lost.

“One Moment In Time” performed by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (courtesy of PlsSmile4Me):

After its introduction to still photography in 1925, 35mm roll film dominated the market in affordable photography until the introduction of consumer digital cameras in the 1990s. At the heart of a digital camera is a charge-coupled device (CCD). On the surface of this semiconductor chip are millions of light-sensitive units; each one stores and releases an amount of charge that depends upon the intensity of light that falls on it, and a computer translates those charges into digital information.

“Here Comes The Sun” by George Harrison, performed by Craig Ogden:

 

His famous quote: ‘Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.’

Above is Eastman’s house

Eastman changed the name of his company to Eastman Kodak and cornered the market in affordable photography. He never married, nor did he have any children. He was a great philanthropist, giving away large sums of money to universities, hospitals, and dental clinics. He was one of the first American Industrialists to embrace and implement the concept of employee profit-sharing. He made outright gifts from his own money to each of his workers. His generosity extended to many causes. He gave large sums of money to the struggling Mechanics Institute of Rochester, which became the Rochester Institute of Technology. His high regard for education led him to contribute to the University of Rochester and to the Hampton and Tuskegee institutes.

University of Rochester, New York

‘The progress of the world depends almost entirely upon education’, he wrote. In another quote, he expanded his belief: ‘The life of our communities in the future needs what our schools of music and other fine arts can give them. It is necessary for people to have an interest in life outside their occupations.’

Rochester Institute of Technology

Courtesy of Academy of Art University:

Dental clinics in Rochester and in Europe were also a focus of his concern. ‘It is a medical fact,’ he said, ‘that children can have a better chance in life with better looks, better health, and more vigour if the teeth, nose, throat, and mouth are taken proper care of at the crucial time of childhood.’

Eastman contributed $100 million of his wealth for philanthropic purposes during his lifetime.

His last two years were painful as he was suffering from a degenerative bone disease and at age 77 he took his own life in 1932 by shooting himself in the heart.

He left a note that read: ‘My work is done, why wait?’

“Lacrimosa” by John Brunning, performed by Xuefei Yang and Johannes Moser:

 

George Eastman Museum

Courtesy of Philip Dean:

Out of all the geniuses about whom I have written here, this Man has my greatest respect and affection.

“Photograph” by Ed Sheeran, performed by and courtesy of Daniel Jang:

 

AUGUSTE  AND  LOUIS  LUMIÈRE

19 October 1862 – 10 April 1954  and  5 October 1864 – 6 June 1948

While no single person can be credited with inventing moving pictures, two French brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière stand out for their foresight and their important contributions; using a film camera-projector that they designed, they put on some of the earliest public film screenings and helped to define cinema.

Courtesy of Ministry of Cinema:

Besancon, France

Courtesy of la belle aventure:

Auguste and Louis Lumière were born in Besancon, France, where their father Antoine had a photographic studio. In 1870, they moved to Lyon, and their father opened a small factory that made photographic plates. In 1882, Auguste and Louis helped to bring the factory back from the brink of financial collapse by mechanising the production of plates, and by selling a new type of plate that Louis had invented the previous year. The firm moved to a larger factory in Montplaisir, on the outskirts of Lyon, where it employed 300 people.

The Lumière Factory in Montplaisir

FRANCE – CIRCA 1890: Montplaisir (Rhone). General view of factories Lumiere, about 1900. (Photo by LL/Roger Viollet via Getty Images)

In 1894, the brothers’ father attended a demonstration of the Kinetoscope, a moving picture peep-show device developed at the laboratory of the American inventor Thomas Edison. The Kinetoscope was not a projector  – only one person could watch a film at a time – but it was fast becoming popular entertainment. Antoine saw a commercial opportunity and, returning to Lyon, suggested his sons work on producing an apparatus that could record and play back moving images.

The Lumière Cinematographe

Louis, the more technically minded of the two brothers, designed the camera-projector, while Auguste designed the housing for the light source. Louis developed the film transport mechanism, inspired by a similar device in sewing machines, which allowed each frame of the film to stop momentarily behind the lens.

The Lumière brothers patented their camera-projector, the Cinematographe, in February 1895.  Louis shot their first film, which was called ‘La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière a Lyon’ (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon), and the pair showed the film to the Societe d’Encouragement de l’Industrie Nationale, in Paris in March 1895, the first public screening of a film. The film was shot at 16 frames per second and, at that rate, it runs for just under 50 seconds. It features most of the nearly 300 workers – mostly women – walking or cycling out of the factory yard.

Courtesy of MediaFilmProfessor:

After several other screenings in France, their father arranged for the first performances to a paying audience. Ten films were shown 20 times a day. The opening night, at the Salon Indien – the empty basement of the Grand Cafe in Paris  – was in December 1895. Auguste and Louis did not attend because they felt the technology still needed more work.

On July 7, 1896, the Lumière brothers showcased six films at the Watson Hotel in Bombay and this marked the birth of Indian cinema as we know it today. They arrived in India after having proved their cinematic excellence in Paris. By and by, skilled Indian painters — MF Husain was one of them — became adept at turning out giant Hindi film posters, few of which, sadly, have survived. Known today as the Esplanade Mansion, this building, which dates to 1869, is the oldest surviving cast-iron structure in India.

Below is Watson’s Hotel

Courtesy of Witty Box by TKP:

 

“Faded” by Alan Walker, featuring Iselin Solheim:

The Lumière Cinematographe was an all-in-one film camera, printer, and projector. For shooting, only the camera was needed: the wooden box. The magic-lantern lamphouse – the large black box – contained the light source for projection. The film holder can be seen protruding from the camera-projection box.

Below is an illustration of how the Lumière brothers were constantly improving their original design.

Courtesy of Joaquin Ignacio:

After a slow start, their show became a great success. In 1896, the Lumière brothers sent their agents abroad, demonstrating their Cinematographe and arousing great interest. They also ordered 200 or so of the camera-projectors to be constructed and opened agencies in several countries to sell them. The Lumière franchise was very successful, but they refused to sell their devices to anyone except through their own agent.

Below is the Lumière Cinematographe

By 1897, Thomas Edison had developed a system of sprocket holes that was incompatible with the Cinematographe and that was quickly becoming the standard in a rapidly developing industry. By 1905, Edison’s system would predominate and the Lumière brothers would leave the film business.

Auguste’s interests turned to chemistry and medicine. In 1910, he founded a laboratory in Lyon, where his 150 staff carried out research into cancer and other diseases. Auguste invented a dressing for burns, called tulle gras, which is still in use today, and pioneered the use of film in surgery, which helped a generation of medical students. Meanwhile, in the early 1900s Louis demonstrated a sequence shot on a new, wider-format film, and later experimented with panoramic and stereoscopic (3-D) films.

The Diamond Jubilee procession of Queen Victoria below

The Lumières’ film of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee procession in London, 1897 had circular sprocket holes, characteristic of the Lumières’ system. Other early filmmakers used 35mm film with rectangular Edison perforations, which became the industry standard. Later Cinematographes could run ‘standard’ 35mm film.

In 1904, the Lumière brothers perfected a colour photography system called Autochrome; they had been working on colour photography since the early 1890s. Autochrome was the most important colour photographic process until colour film became available in the 1930s.

The above colour photograph dates from c1910, taken with the Lumières’ Autochrome system. Shown are Andree Lumière (Auguste’s daughter), Suzanne Lumière (Louis’ daughter), Lazare Sellier (a friend of Antoine Lumière) and Josephine Lumière (Antoine’s wife).

When shooting, a glass slide coated with randomly scattered red-, green-, and blue-pigmented starch grains was held in front in front of the (black and white) film; the same slide was required for viewing.

Looking at the development of motion picture technology, from very early 1895, we can only admire the amount of inspiration required, also scientific research, superb manufacturing, skillful quality control, mechanical engineering and creative presentation, which made possible the illusion and magic of moving pictures. It is a huge story and only some aspects could be included here. My only regret is that the hundreds of brilliant and unseen people, those who worked in factories and labs, who made it all possible are not here either.

“Tara’s Theme” from “Gone With The Wind” (courtesy of zazapk9), one of the loveliest films ever made;  two stills are shown below:

 

50 thoughts on “The Great Scientific Discoveries – Part 6

  1. Very nice Joanna. It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without photography. It was nice to learn details of how the invention progressed. I agree with you about Mr Eastman. What a wonderful man. Thank you for all the work you put in to your presentations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful job. You distilled a lot of info for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Pat, for your kind comment. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  4. Thank you, Carolyn, for your generous comments. As you love photography so much, without it you would have to paint your animals and the sky, an impossible task!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing post, Joanna. Thanks so much for sharing .💕

    Like

  6. Hi Joanna, Greeting! Your brilliancy n the wonderful efforts towards your passion to this nature n universe will never fail to amaze the visitors or reader’s. How amazing it is to read you always. Each videos is mesmarizing especially “the moment of time” made my morning 🌄 Loves n hugs to you Sis….. 😇❣

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, Suma, for your lovely comments. I am glad that you enjoyed the post.

    Joanna

    Like

  8. Thank you, Graca, for your kind comment. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Another terrific post Joanna. I’ve really enjoyed this series, and once again you’ve chosen some excellent inventors to highlight. We may have come a long way since the days of George Eastman and the Lumiere Brothers, but they were pioneers in their fields of photography and moving films that we all take for granted today. I totally agree with you about the respect that George Eastman deserves too by the way.

    Like

  10. Thank you, Malc, for your wonderful comments! George Eastman has my utmost respect and my tears for him since “Lacrimosa”, means – tears, mine for Him. Thank you, Malc, again, great appreciation.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Marvellous, Joanna! A wonderful read! You know how to turn my head and my heart! Tara’s theme from my mother’s favourite film, where she found my name!💖💝🤍🌹🙋‍♂️

    Like

  12. Thank you, Ashley, for your wonderful comments! I thought that is where your beautiful name originated! My heart and my tears are with George Eastman; such a wonderful man and such a tragic fate. Your praise, Ashley, is greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you, Malc! Your last remark somehow ended in spam!

    Joanna

    Like

  14. Very interesting! I learned a lot about the history of photography and movies, and I am glad I read this post. Great post!

    Like

  15. Thank you, Betty, for your kind comments! Greatly appreciated! And coming back to unusual houses, living in England, I love older houses, open fireplaces and original windows a beam here and there, plus lots of flowers…

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My pleasure, truly.💕

    Like

  17. Thank goodness for all these innovators who brought us such wonders, and for you, Joanna, for the marvellous distillation of the facts.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you, Peter, for your kind comments! You made my day! Your words are greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This story of George Eastman is quite interesting and inspiring one. But it’s surprising that such a gentleman and philanthropist had to suffer in his last days. His tragic end by suicide was really unfortunate. His last words, “My work is done, why wait” are touching.
    But his contributions to photography have immortalised him. His promo, “You just press the button, we do the rest” reminds me of an ad by a painting company, J and N, “whenever you think of colour, think of us.”

    Coming to Lumiere Brothers, I was not aware of their contributions for birth of Indian cinema. Watson Hotel I know, it’s still in a dilapidated state though issue was under dispute in a court. One part has already collapsed. As regards MF Hussain, he himself produced a Hindi movie Gaja Gamini in 2000. But what I liked most about Auguste Lumiere that he diversified it for medical surgery.

    As regards chance discoveries you talked about in the beginning, these had happened with viagra and minoxidil also that were synthesized and studied originally for angina and hypertension. This time you have included videos and pictures and what stood for me was Witty Box video and picture of Lumiere family. I truly enjoyed this post. Thank you, Joanna for giving such a detailed descriptions in a lucid and captivating manner, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you, Kaushal, for your wonderful comments that are of such importance to me. I didn’t know about the state of Watson Hotel, and it is a shame. Quite a few drugs start as a cure, for one thing, only to be discovered later to be applicable for something else. I am happy that you have enjoyed today’s post and hope that the next ones will please you too.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a great post, Joanna!
    As always you have led us through a well-articulated path and you have delighted us with countless information, images, sound, that are the result of a very accurate research.
    For all of this I can only thank you with all my heart 💖

    Like

  22. Thank you, Luisa, for such lovely comments! Your praise, Luisa, is overwhelming and greatly appreciated! In searching for something else I came across a mention of an Italian woman painter in 18 century, who was commissioned to paint the three daughters of the owner of the Standon Hall. Although she was disfigured by smallpox, her talent allowed her to succeed in a male-orientated
    domain. When I find out her name, I will tell you more. But my goodness, she could paint! Thank you again, Luisa.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You’re welcome, Joanna! Yes, I hope and believe that the next post will also be as interesting as this one.

    Like

  24. She must have been a truly remarkable painter
    Let me know as soon as you find out her name.
    Have a lovely weekend, dear Joanna 💞

    Like

  25. What a lovely opening it was Joanna. Strong and superlative. Setting the pace of a breath-taking essay on Image-making and the Scientists that were these, the father of Image-Making machines.

    What could have been that passion, that madness that must have made a man out smart his own wits to capture a moment, capture life. I have long known about Lumiere brothers, read around my film school times and later even worked on a brilliant film as an assistant seven years ago in Bombay myself.

    The father of Indian Cinema, who single-handedly made a camera, and then sold everything to go to london to learn the aesthetics, came back made his own moving camera, when people laughed and ridiculed him, he wrote his own script and even acted. He made his four year daughter act, made his wife act and made her work for him behind the scenes, a sensation of a man : and the one who gave India its Cinema – Dadasaheb Phalke, giving India’s first film to the masses in 1913, Raja Harishchandra. I will send you the film i am talking about. Thus Hussain’s name came as a surprise to me because he was born much later, to be precise in 1915. Two years later after the first Indian film came out.

    But Eastman’s story is the most moving one. My jaw dropped reading how he ended his life. I dont feel sorry because he not only lived it, he nailed it and gave such a gift to humanity. My dearest Joanna. This is a prized post. One of the best again amongst many other bests.

    Thank you so much. Lots of Love. Narayan x

    Like

  26. Thank you, Dearest Narayan, for “nailing” superb comments about my post! You have a unique understanding of what those God-guided inventors were passionate about and where their inspiration came from. I would greatly appreciate it if you were able to send me the film you have mentioned. In my heart, I weep for Eastman, the wonderful and noble man.
    Thank you again, dearest Narayan, and your praise means more to me than I can express in words.

    Joanna x

    Like

  27. As always an amazing post Joanna! love the video of the squirrel at the beginning and the vivid photography. It truly is remarkable the intricacies that can be captured. Fascinating story of George Eastman. He created incredible breakthroughs and gave gifts to others. He lived his life his way and must have been in a lot of pain.
    💖💖 Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  28. Thank you, Cindy, for your wonderful comments! You are right, George Eastman was a giant and genius, and he was in terrible pain. In those days there was no pain management.
    Thank you, Cindy, your words are greatly appreciated. Thank you for the hearts.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  29. You’re so welcome Joanna. We never know what we would do when faced in those situations where pain can overtake us.
    It’s always a pleasure my friend!
    And here are some more heart. 💖💖💖💖

    Like

  30. Wow! Thank you so much. You always bring such interesting things to your blog. You have put such effort into it and it is so edifying. Your choice of music and short examples are also so valuable. Thank you again 💐💐💐🙋‍♀️

    Like

  31. Thank you, Morag, for your wonderful comments! I am happy that you liked the music too. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  32. You are welcome 🤗😊

    Like

  33. Hi Joanna, I enjoyed reading and learning about the camera and George Eastman, but his death was so tragic and his quote gave me goosebumps. “One Moment in Time” is beautiful, and of course, Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” is classic, along with his quote. So fascinating and I loved all the music you shared here. Wonderful post, thank you!

    Like

  34. Thank you, Lauren, for your wonderful comments! I am so glad that you liked everything, except the fate of George Eastman, it broke my heart…

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  35. You’re welcome, Joanna, and that’s how I felt too, heartbroken.

    Like

  36. Great article Joanna. It is amazing to see how photography has progressed. At times I am grateful to the relative simplicity of taking and managing multiple photographs in the digital age but am also a little wistful for the times when so much went into taking one good shot for film photography!

    Like

  37. Thank you for sharing this article about photography.

    Like

  38. Thank you for your kind comment.

    Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Wow.. what a great post, Joanna! Very interesting and wondaful read!!

    Like

  40. Thank you, Jyothi, for your kind comment! Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Great scientific discoveries indeed, thank you Joanna for such an interesting share. I enjoyed reading it.

    Like

  42. Thank you, Henrietta, for your kind comments. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Wonderful story telling Joanna – as always! P.S. Great pics too! 💖

    Like

  44. Thank you for your kind comments! Greatly appreciated!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Joanna, Thank you for this post, and the previous post. I enjoyed reading about the development of the steam engine and the history of photography and movies. The lives of the inventors were very interesting. I found Eastman to be a particularly compelling person…his rise from poverty and being self-educated, his beautiful mansion, and philanthropy. As always, a delightful variety of videos and music. ❤

    Like

  46. Thank you, Cheryl, for your wonderful comments! George Eastman is my choice for a hero too. Your words, Cheryl, are greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  47. Thank you for such a deeply researched and well written article, Joanna!

    I’m going to visit this post again as photography is close to my heart.

    Like

  48. Thank you, Harshi, for your beautiful comments! Next post tonight, see you again. Your words are greatly appreciated!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

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