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Polaroid: 69 years of instant photography

Polaroid Land Camera Model 95. Photo: Eugene Ilchenko
Polaroid Land Camera Model 95. Photo: Eugene Ilchenko
February 21, 2016 /Photography News/ 69 years ago today, on February 21, 1947, Edwin Land (1909 - 1991) --the co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation-- demonstrated the first instant camera with self-developing film, using a patented chemical process to produce finished positive prints from the exposed negatives in under a minute. The camera was named Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 due to its $95 suggested price, and it was the first of Edwin Land's instant picture cameras.

Although Edwin Land is rightly credited with inventing the Polaroid Camera, it was his daughter who conceived of the idea. While on vacation at the Grand Canyon in 1943, she wondered why developing photos took so long and asked to see the vacation photos right away. Her idea preyed on Land's mind and he started working on the concept that the whole photographic process from taking the image to seeing the finished product shouldn't last longer than 60 seconds.

Polaroid originally manufactured sixty units of this first camera. Fifty-seven were put up for sale at Boston's Jordan Marsh department store before the 1948 Christmas holiday. Polaroid marketers incorrectly guessed that the camera and film would remain in stock long enough to manufacture a second run based on customer demand. All fifty-seven cameras and all of the film were sold on the first day of demonstrations. Starting in 1948 the Polaroid Corporation in Rochester made at least 1.5 million of the Model 95 folding viewfinder camera for his instant roll film, including the variants 95, 95A and 95B.


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24 comments:

  1. Lynn says

    Is film for this camera still available?


    McArey says

    I have a model 95a discovered at an Estate Sale.
    Original condition; have not 'cleaned' up the camera. No damage. No flash attachments with camera.
    contact: cohog99@yahoo.com


    Anonymous says

    What's the kind of film for the model 95a?


    Diana says

    They stopped producing the Polaroid 95a in 1957, and they don't make film for it anymore either. Some converted their 95a's into 6x10s or 4x5s. Not sure it's worth it.


    Jon Nguyen says

    Loved Polaroid, someone please bring it back.


    Mike says

    Hopefully this is just what im looking for, looks like i have a lot to read.


    awagner3rd says

    I have the original polaroid 95A from the early 50's in mint condition still in leather case with al brochures and manual,. Also has light meter attachment: Contact awagner3rd@aol.com


    Jake Pro says

    Great post, that answered all my questions!


    Amanda says

    I have a Polaroid 95A with most of it's accessories that I am looking to sell. It is in fair condition. Feel free to contact me alanoue@live.com


    Edeir says

    This camera is a treasure, even if it's not functional, or if you can't find films for it, it is a great add to an antiques collection. Don't you think?


    Pete Rosos says

    For some reason I can't watch the video. Every time I click to watch, it tells me the video is private. Could you please fix this?


    James Myers says

    I have Model 95, excellent condition and no bellow tears, original case and all the how to use manuals for all the acessories. There is a Polaroid Wink-Light, Polaroid exposure meter, 4-S Light Reducer, Polaroid close up lens kit(3 lenses)and the case that holds the lenses has a built in special tape measure, Polaroid filter kit(Half Step, Yellow and Polarizer), Polaroid Flash Gun and there are two skinny cables, one of them is 54 inches and the other is 6 inches, they are spring loaded with a push rod, I am guessing that they are for like if your using a tripod or something. This camera was my great grandfathers, if anyone has any interest in it feel free to send me an e-mail. myersjames52@gmail.com


    KGBphoto says

    check this out:

    http://polaroid95a.blogspot.co.uk/


    Rose says

    Is there film available for the model 95B?


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