|Edwin H. Land|
Some people find possibilities where no one would think they exist. Such a man was also behind the inventions of glare-free car light and also the instant camera; the American scientist and entrepreneur named Edwin H. Land.
His both inventions came from the quest to solve some everyday problems. One evening, Land was walking down a street when a car came from the opposite end with its headlights on. His vision was dimmed due to the intensity of the lights and he was left virtually blind for a few moments. It was the moment of inspiration for him. Land set out to find a solution for the problem for he knew such lights could cause road accidents and take several lives. He wanted to mellow this glare of the lights and the idea consumed his thoughts for the next few years. In 1932, he developed a film-like plastic sheet that could filter the light. They were called polaroids. Following the discovery, Land established a company with his physics instructor George Wheelwright to manufacture items that polarise light, such as non-glare car lights and non-glare sunglasses. The company, later named Polaroid Corporation, took only a brief time to find success and Land’s inventions spread across the world.
One of his other inventions, more famous than the first one, also came as a result of finding a solution to a problem. That was the Polaroid camera. Once, Land was taking pictures of his three year old daughter. He had just snapped one when his daughter said she wanted to see the photo right away. Land got his hands full for a while since the child wouldn’t take no for answer. Even though he succeeded in placating his daughter then, the idea was firmly planted in his head and his next mission was to invent a camera that could print photos instantaneously.
Those days, in ordinary cameras, the film had to be taken out, developed and printed. It was both time-consuming and tedious. Land made a new kind of film and devised a system that performed all these functions within the camera itself. The photos could be printed in less than a minute with it. It was marketed as Land Camera. It was the birth of Polaroid camera and Land is known as the father of instant photography.
With the commercialization of his inventions, Land became one of the richest persons in the world. Marketed in 1948, the Polaroid camera was so successful. The photos printed by the camera were of a reddish brown color. Land continued to do experiments on his inventions and made black and white films in 1948 and color films in 1969. Even though he was an industrialist, he always saw himself as a scientist first. In 1991, he passed away. He influenced many people, most notably Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple.
Edwin H. Land (Wikipedia)