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[Video] Photography Timeline

This animated timeline is a concise history of some of the most important events to shape photography from 1839 – 2008.

  • 5th-4th Centuries B.C.

Chinese and Greek philosophers describe the basic principles of optics and the camera.

  • 1664-1666

Isaac Newton discovers that white light is composed of different colors.

  • 1727

Johann Heinrich Schulze discovered that silver nitrate darkened upon exposure to light.

  • 1794

First Panorama opens, the forerunner of the movie house invented by Robert Barker.

  • 1814

Joseph Niepce achieves first photographic image with camera obscura – however, the image required eight hours of light exposure and later faded.

  • 1837

Louis Daguerre’s first daguerreotype – the first image that was fixed and did not fade and needed under thirty minutes of light exposure.

  • 1840

First American patent issued in photography to Alexander Wolcott for his camera.

  • 1841

William Henry Talbot patents the Calotype process – the first negative-positive process making possible the first multiple copies.

  • 1843

First advertisement with a photograph made in Philadelphia.

  • 1851

Frederick Scott Archer invented the Collodion process – images required only two or three seconds of light exposure.

  • 1859

Panoramic camera patented – the Sutton.

  • 1861

Oliver Wendell Holmes invents stereoscope viewer.

  • 1865

Photographs and photographic negatives are added to protected works under copyright.

  • 1871

Richard Leach Maddox invented the gelatin dry plate silver bromide process – negatives no longer had to be developed immediately.

  • 1880

Eastman Dry Plate Company founded.

  • 1884

George Eastman invents flexible, paper-based photographic film.

  • 1888

Eastman patents Kodak roll-film camera.

  • 1898

Reverend Hannibal Goodwin patents celluloid photographic film.

  • 1900

First mass-marketed camera—the Brownie.

  • 1913/1914

First 35mm still camera developed.

  • 1927

General Electric invents the modern flash bulb.

  • 1932

First light meter with photoelectric cell introduced.

  • 1935

Eastman Kodak markets Kodachrome film.

  • 1941

Eastman Kodak introduces Kodacolor negative film.

  • 1942

Chester Carlson receives patent for electric photography (xerography).

  • 1948

Edwin Land markets the Polaroid camera.

  • 1954

Eastman Kodak introduces high speed Tri-X film.

  • 1960

EG&G develops extreme depth underwater camera for U.S. Navy.

  • 1963

Polaroid introduces instant color film.

  • 1968

Photograph of the Earth from the moon.

  • 1973

Polaroid introduces one-step instant photography with the SX-70 camera.

  • 1977

George Eastman and Edwin Land inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

  • 1978

Konica introduces first point-and-shoot, autofocus camera.

  • 1980

Sony demonstrates first consumer camcorder.

  • 1984

Canon demonstrates first digital electronic still camera.

  • 1985

Pixar introduces digital imaging processor.

  • 1990

Eastman Kodak announces Photo CD as a digital image storage medium.

Source: About.