Polaroid – before the cameras

Polaroid before they made their revolutionary “picture in a minute” cameras.

Toronto. In 1948 Edwin Land began marketing the amazing “picture in a minute” camera. In the early days demand far exceeded supply making the new cameras very scarce.

But what happened before the cameras? Why are they called Polaroid cameras, or Polaroid Land cameras?

Edwin Land was a very creative inventor. In 1932 he and his Harvard physics instructor established a company to make the polarizing filters Land invented. In 1937 the company was renamed Polaroid Corporation.

This is a 1946 ad from LIFE magazine (thanks to George Dunbar). The ad promotes the then innovative see-through sun shade for cars using the polaroid filter sheet. Two years later Land came out with his camera and film making history. The cameras were all called Polaroid-Land until 1982 when Land resigned from his company.

Most people had or were photographed with a Polaroid camera. Few people continued to use the camera (other than professionals who used the larger size Polaroid films to test exposure and view before using the even more costly colour material). For the amateur, pictures in a minute were attractive. The cost was not.

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