For decades the word Polaroid was synonymous with 60 second instant photography, in an era when film canisters were removed from the camera and developed into photographs by a third party.

Dr. Edwin Land, one of the co-founders of the Polaroid Corporation, was born on May 7, 1909 in Bridgeport, CT, to Martha (nee Goldfaden) and Harry Land, Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Land began studying chemistry at Harvard University in 1927, but left after his freshman year to work on his own scientific experiments. In New York City, he spent his days in the Public Library and his nights “borrowing” a lab at Columbia University. That year, he invented the first useable polarizing filter. He returned to Harvard for three years, but dropped out again and opened the Land-Wheelright Laboratories. In 1937, the company was renamed Polaroid Corporation. Land’s polarizing technology was used in a wide range of inventions, including night-vision goggles, 3-D glasses, liquid crystal displays (LCD) and even the U-2 spy plane, some of which were developed for the use of the Allied forces during World War II, and played a major role in their success.

On February 21, 1947, Land introduced to the world the first instant camera. The “Land Camera” hit the market less than two years later. In the early 70s, Dr. Land’s retinex theory of color vision enabled Polaroid to develop the SX-70 instant color camera. On July 27, 1982, Land resigned as chairman of Polaroid, due to the financial failure of Polavision, Polaroid’s innovative instant movie system.

Land was a scientist first, and a CEO second. Although Land is best known for his Polaroid camera, he actually held well over 500 patents. Dr. Edwin Land died on March 1, 1991. The Polaroid Corporation filed for bankruptcy on October 11, 2001.

This treat was first shared on Thursday, February 11, 2016.

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