Some Polaroid History

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A concise history of

Dr. Edwin Land and Polaroid Co.

This timeline is not complete or exhaustive (especially in listing SX-70 cameras and newer). But it does attempt to highlight some interesting events, as well as to show the procession of cameras which were produced by Polaroid.

YearCameras IntroducedFilm IntroducedOther
1929  Land creates the first synthetic sheet polarizer
1929  Land files the patent for the first synthetic polarizer
1932  Land announces synthetic polarizing material
1933  Land-Wheelwright incorporated
1934  Kodak purchases polarizers for filters, Polaroid Day glasses introduced
1937  Polaroid Co. founded
1939  Polaroid stereoscopic motion pictures shown at world's fair
1941  Sales increased to $1 million
1942  Various wartime instruments, etc. invented/manufactured
1944  Jennifer Land asks her Dad "Why can't I see them now?" setting into motion the SX-70 project.
1945  Sales increased to $16 million, war ends
1947  One step photography announced
194895type 40Roll film cameras introduced
1949  Ansel Adams hired as a consultant
1950 411 millionth roll of film produced
1951 type 1001Print coater introduced, Instant x-ray film introduced
1952110  
195480, 95A, 100 (roll film)type 31 
1955700type 32, 42, 43Panchromatic film introduced
1956 type 441 millionth camera produced
195780A, 95B, 110A, 150, 800type 46, 46-LPolaroid stock listed on the NYSE
1958 type 52, 53 (4" x 5")4 x 5 inch Film holder introduced
195980Btype 37, 47 (3000 ASA)Winklight 250, 252 introduced, Polaroid expands to Canada, Europe
1960110B, 900 First automatic exposure camera (900), Polaroid expands to Japan
1961120, 850, J33, J66type 55, 57 
1962160, MP-3 4 millionth camera produced
1963100type 38, 48, 58, 107, 108Pack film cameras introduced, Colour film introduced, 5 millionth camera produced
1964101, 102, CU-5 Close-uptype 510, 413 
1965103, 104, 125, 135, 180, swinger (20), 415, M15, Instant portrait (4x5)type 20 
1966ID-2 Land Identification systemTLX radiographic 
1967210, 220, 230, 240, 250type 51 
1968215, 225, 3000 (big swinger), M-10, Special Events 228 (high volume)Model 545 film holder 
1969315, 320, 325, 330, 335, 340, 350, 360, colorpack II, IV, ED-10 Intrument IC chips used in model 360
1970Countdown M60, M80, Colorpack M6, IIItype 20CSales reach $500 million
1971420, 430, 440, 450, Countdown 70, 90, Big shot, Colorpack 80, 82, 85, 88, ZIP, Super colorpack, IV, Square shooter, Miniportrait, 701, 703, 704, 706, CU-5, ID-3 Indentificationtype 87, 88 
1972Square shooter 2, 4, SX-70SX-70SX-70 cameras introduced
1973colorpack, colorpack V, MP-4, 707 (ID) 5000 SX-70 cameras/day are produced (plus 50,000/day SX-70 film)
1974195, SX-70 model 2type 105Polaroid estimates over 1 billion instant prints made this year
1975355, 455, Electric zip, Super shooter, Plus, Clincher, Colorpack 100, Color swinger, II, SX-70 Model 2 Executive, SX-70 model 3Polacolor 2Land resigns as President of Polaroid
1976Pronto!, Pronto! Plus, Pronto! S, Pronto! SM, 88, 107CPolaroid sues Kodak for copyright infringment with their instant cameras, over 6 million Land cameras produced this year
1977Reporter, EE100, Colorpack 200, SX-70 Alpha, Alpha 1 Executive, Alpha 1 model 2, Encore, Onestep, Pronto! B, Pronto! Extra, Pronto! RF, 20x24 art camera, Intl: 1500, 3000, EE38, EE58, EE100, Colorpack 200, 1000type 084, 665, 667, 668, 708Land awarded 500th patent, sales exceed $1 billion
1978SX-70 Sonar onestep, Presto!, Pronto! Sonar onestep, Pronto! BC, MemoryMaker, 600, Instant 10, Instant 20, Instant 30, Polavisiontype 608 
1979SX-70 Polasonic Autofocus, 5000SX-70 Time Zero, 6117.3 million cameras produced
1980 type 891, Polacolor ERPolaprinter (prints from slides) introduced, 6.6 million cameras produced
1981SX-70 TimeZero AF, The Button, Timezero onestep, Timezero Pronto AF, Sun 640, 660600, 612, 552, 558, 559, 59, 809, 891 (8x10 transparency)Sun 600 Light Management system introduced
1982Sun 650, Amigo 620, SLR 680, ID-3 Model 710 Edwin Land retires from Polaroid
1983Onestep Sun, 600 LMS35mm slide AutoprocessPalette introduced
1984Sun 600 AF, Sun 600 LMS331, 336, 339 
1985  Polaroid wins lawsuit against Kodak
1986Spectra990 (Spectra)Spectra Cameras introduced
1987Spectra Onyx First transparent camera
1988Cool CamSpectra High Definition Grid 
1990Spectra Pro  
1991  Polaroid receives $925M from Kodak for patent infringement
1993CaptivaCaptiva 95Captiva Cameras introduced
1996SLR 690, Pro CamSpectra Pro 
1997Onestep Express, Onestep AF, Onestep talking  
1998SpiceCamPlatinum 600, 500 
1999Barbie® Instant Camera, Taz® Instant camera, JoyCam, PopShots, I-Zonepocket, pocket stickerI-Zone cameras introduced
2000Business Edition 600 2, Job Pro 2; Spectra 1200i, 1200si, I-Zone digital combo,   
2001Mio, Spectra 1200ff, I-zone convertable, I-zone with radio, PinholeMIO, Pocket fortunePolaroid files for Chapter 11 protection, MIO camera introduced
2002I-zone colour changing camera Equity One partners aquires Polaroid's assets
2003Polaroid One690, 84, 85, 87, 88, 89Introduced Instant digital prints Kiosk
2004Image 1200, One600 Pro, One600 JobPro, One600 Ultra, One600 Classic, izone200 First instant camera with digital LCD viewfinder (Image 1200)
2005I-Zone 200I-zone 200, I-zone 200 stickyPolaroid introduces online photofinishing service, Petter's Group Worldwide acquires Polaroid's assets for $426M
2006  Polaroid discontinues SX-70, type 665, and type 85 film
2008PogoPolaroid announces all instant film production will cease in 2008/2009, files for Chapter 11 protection due to alleged fraud from Petters Group founder. Partners with Zink.
2009  The Polaroid brand is purchased by PLR IP Holdings, LLC.
2010PIC-300, PIC-1000300Polaroid hires Lady Gaga as creative director (??)
2011GL20, GL30, Z340 Polaroid announces Grey Label (a flop)
2012Z2300  

Since 2002, Polaroid has evolved into a company which basically brands other merchandise. With no inventor at its core, it is simply grasping at marketing to turn a profit.


History Links:

A biography of Dr. Edwin T. Land. (click on links to left for more info)
A bibliography and some links

History of this web site

This site was originally developed in 1998 as a joke for my wife. She still thinks it's crazy to collect a bunch of cameras that all look alike (to her anyway!). I started the collection back in 1985 while we were in Seattle going to University. At that time, we were newly married and frequented thrift stores, which often had a Polaroid or two for sale. I finally broke down and bought one for a dollar: the model 210 (which happens to be the most common of these cameras, with the fewest features!) and really got a kick out of how it worked. That summer I found a few more different models, and was facinated by the fact that Polaroid made so many different models of cameras, each so much alike.

As you can see by the above chart, Polaroid was very good at marketing--taking a camera, adding a leather strap or whatever, calling it a new model number, and selling it to their projected market.

The site was originally compiled with Microsoft Publisher because I didn't know a thing about HTML. Unfortunately, Publisher isn't very flexible when it comes to developing web pages, and it produces some of the most complicated HTML code I've ever seen. So in the summer of 2000, I decided I had better learn HTML, so redid this site with a good book on HTML and Notepad. You'll notice that most major aspects of HTML have been incorporated into this web site, in one place or the other. If you take into consideration that this web site was an HTML tutorial for me, it may make more sense!

So far this collection is limited, but I'm finding that I'm sometimes the recipient of a lonely Polaroid which would have otherwise gotten thrown out, so my collection is expanding to roll film cameras and SX-70s. Only cameras with bellows though! Hard bodied cameras take up so much more space. I'm starting to include roll film cameras and SX-70 cameras which have a bellows in their design in this site, though I'm not as familiar with these cameras. This site will continue to have as its focus pack film cameras, but I'll include information about roll film and SX-70 cameras as I learn more. Unfortunately, this collection will probably never be complete, since two of the cameras I lack are the 180 and 195, which are valued at over $200 each, and my wife would flip if I spent that much on a Polaroid!


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