Polaroid’s new line of instant cameras has caught the eyes of young teens, but it will never compare to the nostalgia of that moment in history that so many 35 and older grew up knowing.
In 1937, Edwin H. Land developed his unique “Polaroid polarizing polymer” and founded Polaroid. The company’s initial offering was in polarized sunglasses, then Land—using his patented polarizer technology—created products including 3-D movies, glare-reducing goggles for dogs, and infrared night viewing devices for the armed forces. Polaroid has been considered by some to be the “Apple” of its time, with Edwin Land as a leader, scientist, and CEO for over 40 years.
Polaroid is most recognized for instant photography which placed the operations of a darkroom inside the film itself—a technology never seen before. In 1972, Land was featured on the cover of Life magazine with the inscription, “A Genius and His Magic Camera.”
Kodak was a customer for some of Poloraid’s polarizing products. But in 1976, Kodak launched a new line of instant cameras, followed by Polaroid suing them for infringements on its patents. The lawsuit caused an increase in sales for instant cameras, climbing from 7.4 million in 1976 to 14.3 million in 1978. After ten long years, the court ruled in favor of Polaroid and ordered Kodak to pay them $909.5 million.
In 1977, Polaroid suffered a setback when they introduced the Polavision, Polaroid’s Instant Home Movie Camera. At this same time, VHS camera systems were introduced, and the Polavision could not compete. Land resigned in this same year, and Polaroid went through many changes in its name and ownership.