when sub-minute was super fast

Polaroid ad for Big Swinger in late 1968 LIFE mag

Toronto. When we see a good shot, we pull out our smartphone, snap, correct (edit), and send the image a few chairs over or half way around the world in a few seconds – in full colour and crisp high resolution. Piece of cake!

Not so back in the days of film. The roll had to be finished, then developed and printed. If the prints were passible, you mailed a few and the full process took  a few days to a few weeks depending on how fast you could finish a roll of film and how far your letter had to travel.

Polaroid tried to shorten this ordeal and reduce the chance of a crummy print by a process that took only 10 seconds from snap to finished print. Bad print? Just try again. This ad from the November 1 issue of LIFE touted all the features of this inexpensive camera, including a built-in extinction meter! All that and prints in only 10 seconds! Wow!

Thanks to my good friend George Dunbar for sharing this piece of history back in the days when 10 seconds from snap to print was considered super fast.

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