Death of the Polaroid camera

| February 9, 2008

Gaius over at Blue Crab Boulevard (one of my favorite daily blogs) reports that Polaroid is shutting down the last of its manufacturing facilities for Polaroid cameras:

When Polaroid users pulled a picture out of their cameras, an image would slowly appear before their eyes. Now, like the process in reverse, the image of the Polaroid instant camera — dimming for years — has finally gone black.

Polaroid, based in Waltham, Mass., is shutting down factories in the United States and abroad as the company abandons the technology that made the instant photo possible, the Boston Globe reported yesterday. The company will cease production of its film by next year.

If you are of a certain age, you remember well the pungent, acrid smell of chemicals as you pulled the photo out of the camera, waited the requisite 60 seconds, peeled off the protective paper, and spread a fixing chemical over the surface of the black-and-white photograph itself. Later models added color and dispensed with the protective paper and fixing chemical. The quality of the photographs wasn’t all that great, at least compared to a real 35mm camera, but the instant gratification — and the fact that you didn’t have to let someone else see the photos as they were developing — made the Polaroid very popular, particularly with those in their teens and twenties.

But as the article notes, technology — particularly digital image and network technology — has brought it all to an end. ..bruce w..

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Category: Engineering, Information Technology, Main, Photography, Science

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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