Kodak – Eastman Picks a Name

By | Sep 4, 2017

What’s in a name? For George Eastman the name is Kodak. It was on September 4, 1888 that he patented the name Kodak.

When applying to the British Patent Office his comments were; “This is not a foreign name or word; it was constructed by me to serve a definite purpose. It has the following merits as a trade-mark word: first it is short; second, it is not capable of mispronunciation; third, it does not resemble anything in the art and cannot be associated with anything in the art”.

Eastman had been involved with the photographic industry since 1874. He did however find the process troublesome. In 1874 the process required coating a glass plate with a liquid emulsion and then using it before it dried. He began working on a process of a dry photographic plate and patented his process in 1880.

Eastman believed that there had to be a better, easier and less cumbersome method for photographs than using glass plates. By 1885 he had developed a method using paper and then later light-sensitive gelatin as roll film. Even though this appeared to be a better process, it wasn’t quickly adopted. Eastman felt that advertising was the way to advance sales and it was with that concept that he thought up a name. Kodak.

He explain his reasoning; “I devised the name myself. The letter “K” had been a favorite with me — it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter. It became a question of trying out a great number of combinations of letters that made words starting and ending with ‘K.’ The word ‘Kodak’ is the result.”


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