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January 19, 2012: Imaging Giant Kodak Declares Bankruptcy

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In 1888, George Eastman introduced the Kodak camera, the first camera that was simple and portable enough to be used by large numbers of amateur photographers.

In 1888, Eastman trademarked the name “Kodak”, a meaningless word which would soon become one of the most well-known brands in the world.

In 1900, Eastman introduced the less-expensive Brownie, a simple box camera with a removable film container, so that the whole unit no longer needed to be sent back to the plant.

In 1963, Kodak introduced the revolutionary Instamatic camera. Kodak was also the first to make home-movie equipment and an easy-to-use color slide film, Kodachrome.

In 1969, Kodak produced the camera used by astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission which was used on the surface of the moon. The first ever photo of Earth taken from deep space was captured by Lunar Orbiter I with Kodak hardware.

Six years later, Steve Sassen, an engineer at Kodak, who worked in research and development, invented the digital camera.

In 1984, the company entered the video market by introducing an 8-millimeter video camera system and videocassette tapes.

By the early 21st century, facing significant declines in the consumer market for cameras and other products related to film photography, Kodak placed new emphasis on digital photography products.

They raised the prices on film and chemistry. As demand lowered for film products lowered, in order to protect the bottom line, prices were raised. This caused more people than expected to transition to digital because it got too expensive.

Kodak’s primary camera market was consumer-cameras, film and processing aimed at this market. With the iPhone, sales of P&S cameras died.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January 2012 and announced soon after that it would no longer manufacture digital cameras and some other digital imaging products.

Today, personalized imaging and document imaging are now part of Kodak Alaris, a separate company owned by the UK-based Kodak Pension Plan.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration announced that it planned to give Kodak a $765 million loan for manufacturing ingredients used in pharmaceuticals. The funding was put on hold as the SEC began probing allegations of insider trading by Kodak executives ahead of the deal’s announcement.

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