Photography history timeline

Camera Obscura

The Camera Obscura. ENLARGE

5th-4th Centuries B.C.
Chinese and Greek philosophers describe the basic principles of optics and the camera.
1664-1666
Isaac Newton discovers that white light is composed of different colors.
1727
Johann Heinrich Schulze discovered that silver nitrate darkened upon exposure to light.
1794
First Panorama opens, the forerunner of the movie house invented by Robert Barker.
1814
Joseph Niépce achieves first photographic image with camera obscura, but the image required eight hours of light exposure and later faded.
1837
Louis Daguerre’s first daguerreotype, the first image to be fixed and not fade. It needed less than minutes of light exposure.
Camera Obscura

Daguerreotype of Samuel F.B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph. ENLARGE

1840
First American patent issued in photography to Alexander Wolcott for his camera.
1841
William Henry Talbot patents the Calotype process, the first negative-positive process making possible many copies.
1843
First advertisement with a photograph made in Philadelphia.
1851
Frederick Scott Archer invents the Collodion process, images required only two or three seconds of light exposure.
1859
Panoramic camera patented, called the Sutton.
1861
Oliver Wendell Holmes invents stereoscope viewer.
1865
Photographs and photographic negatives are added to protected works under copyright.
1871
Richard Leach Maddox invents the gelatin dry plate silver bromide process; negatives no longer had to be developed immediately.
1880
Eastman Dry Plate Company founded.
1884
George Eastman invents flexible, paper-based photographic film.
1888
Eastman patents Kodak roll-film camera.
1898
Reverend Hannibal Goodwin patents celluloid photographic film.
Camera Obscura

Advertisement for the Kodak Brownie camera. ENLARGE

1900
First mass-marketed camera, the Brownie.
1913/1914
First 35mm still camera developed.
1927
General Electric invents the modern flash bulb.
1932
First light meter with photoelectric cell introduced.
1935
Eastman Kodak markets Kodachrome film.
1941
Eastman Kodak introduces Kodacolor negative film.
1942
Chester Carlson receives patent for electric photography (xerography).
1948
Edwin Land markets the Polaroid camera.
1954
Eastman Kodak introduces high speed Tri-X film.
1960
EG&G develops extreme depth underwater camera for U.S. Navy.
1963
Polaroid introduces instant color film.
Camera Obscura

The first view of Earth from the moon, taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 on Aug. 23, 1966, from a distance of about 236,000 miles. ENLARGE

1968
Photograph of the Earth from the moon.
1973
Polaroid introduces one-step instant photography with the SX-70 camera.
1977
George Eastman and Edwin Land inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
1978
Konica introduces first point-and-shoot autofocus camera.
1980
Sony demonstrates first consumer camcorder.
1984
Canon demonstrates first digital electronic still camera.
1985
Pixar introduces digital imaging processor.
1990
Eastman Kodak announces Photo CD as a digital image storage medium.