A brief history of film

A brief history of film

| Film
Compiled by Peter Bargh

1727 Johann Schulze discovered that a mixture of chalk, silver and nitric acid turned deep purple and could form basic images when exposed to light.

1802 Thomas Wedgwood, the son of Wedgwood pottery's founder, made negative prints by bathing paper in a silver nitrate solution then exposing it to light. He was able to record half tones as well as pure black & white, but the image was not permanent.

1827 Joseph Nicphore Nipce produced the first photograph on a highly polished pewter plate coated in bitumen of Judea. After an eight hour exposure in the camera, the plate was washed in a mixture of oil of lavender and white petroleum to produce the first permanent positive image.

1835 William Henry Fox Talbot made the first paper negative by coated paper in a solution of common salt and silver nitrate and exposing it in the camera. He then temporarily fixed the image with potassium iodine. The photograph is the famous shot of the window at Lacock Abbey.

1837 Jacques Mand Daguerre produced his first Daguerreotype. A copper plate coated with silver, pumice powder and sweet oil then washed in diluted nitric acid and gently heated over a flame. The plate was the placed over a tray of evaporating iodine in a darkened room. A layer of light sensitive silver iodine formed on the plate ready for exposure in the camera. The exposure took 45 minutes and the image was formed by developing the plate in mercury vapour.

1839 Sir John Herschel made the first glass photograph and established the terms photography, negative and positive.

1841 William Henry Fox Talbot patented the Calotype process.

1847 Abel Nipce de Saint Victor made the first successful glass negative by coating a sheet of glass with a mixture of egg white, potassium iodine and acidified silver nitrate solution. The exposure times were about half an hour in bright sunlight.

1851 Frederick Scott Archer developed the collodian or wet plate process. A plate of glass was coated in a mixture of gun-cotton and potassium iodide then sensitized with silver nitrate. The plates had to be exposed while wet and returned immediately to the darkroom for processing. Exposure times were down to a few seconds.

1860 James Clerk-Maxwell produced the first colour image comprising three black & white positives each projected through a different primary colour filter onto a screen.

1861 Alexander Parkes invented celluloid.

1871 Dr Richard Leach Maddox invented the first dry plate using a mixture of cadmium bromide and silver nitrate in a solution of gelatin. It could be stored for long periods and became the first mass produced emulsion.

1873 Hermann Vogel discovered that coloured dyes could be incorporated in photographic emulsions.

1888 John Carbutt persuaded a celluloid manufacturer to produce thin sheets which were then coated with gelatin emulsion.

1888 Ferdinand Hurter and Vero Driffield pioneered the science of sensitometry, film speed, and made the first exposure calculator - the Actinograph.

1889 George Eastman, founder of Kodak introduced the first gelatin emulsion onto a roll of celluloid film.

1891 Kodak introduced the first roll film that could be loaded into a camera in daylight.

1907 The Lumire brothers invented the autochrome, an additive screen colour material using plates covered in potato starch and dyed in the three colours.

1922 Kodak introduced infrared film for scientific use.

1930 Dufaycolor, a version of autochrome, appeared with a film speed of ISO 16.

1930 Cellulose acetate began to replace celluloid as the common film base.

1935 Kodak introduced Kodachrome ISO 10 slide film at the time 18 exposure cost 12/6. It was the first integral tripack film using subtractive process and colour formers in its developer.

1941 Kodacolor was born, the first colour negative film enabling colour prints to be made.

Eastman Kodak introduces KODAK Ektachrome, the company's first color film processable by the photographer.

1948 The first instant black & white film was introduced by Polaroid.

1949 Kodak introduced Ektacolor - a film containing colour couplers and integral colour masking.

1954 Kodak introduced Tri-X - the first high speed black & white film.

1961 Kodachrome II was born. A new emulsion with better exposure latitude, lower contrast and a faster ISO 25 rating.

1963 Kodak launched the easy to use Instamatic camera with its drop-in loading 126 film cartridge.

1963 Polaroid introduced their first instant colour film.

1967 Kodak developed Technical Pan, specifically for photographing the sun. It was redeveloped in 1977 as the finest grain general-purpose film.

1972 110 film format introduced by Kodak.
        Polaroid introduce SX-70 instant film.

1975 Ektachrome slide films were revamped from E-4 to E-6 compatible.

1976 Fuji introduced F-II 400 the first ISO400 colour negative film.

1980 Ilford develop the first chromogenic film. XP1 was a black & white film with colour dye technology so it could be processed in conventional C-41 colour chemistry.

1982 Kodak introduced T-grain technology in Kodacolor VR1000 colour negative film which is now widely used in other films including their T-Max films.

1987 Konica announced the fastest colour print film SRG 3200 Kodak and Fuji introduce disposable cameras, which are soon renamed 'single use' for environmental reasons!

1988 Kodak introduced T-Max 3200 - the world's fastest black & white film that could be rated at speeds up to ISO50,000.

1990 Fuji launched Velvia a 17 layer slide film which was the first serious competition to Kodachrome, but had the advantage of E-6 processing compatible.

1996 Canon, Fuji, Kodak, Minolta and Nikon work together to develop the Advanced Photo System film. A new type of cartridge designed for easier loading and handling

1998 ImageK show a prototype of the eFilm cartridge a device that fits into a 35mm film chamber converting a conventional camera into a digital capture device.

1999 Fuji launch Instax Mini - an instant camera that produces the first credit card sized prints


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