Polaroid: The Instant Photography Pioneer
Edward Herbert Land was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1909. After graduating from high school, where he excelled at science, Land entered Harvard University to study chemistry. In his freshman year, he became so interested in polarized light—light whose waves all vibrate in a single plane—that he left to pursue full-time research on polarizing materials.
Land moved to New York, where he read scientific works at the public library by day and snuck into a lab at Columbia University to do experiments by night. His breakthrough came when he realized that instead of using large crystals—which were expensive and hard to come by—to polarize light, he could achieve the same effect with lots of tiny crystals embedded in a sheet of clear plastic. Land then returned to Harvard to perfect his new polarizing material, and in 1932 founded Land-Wheelwright Laboratories with one of his physics teachers. By 1937, the company—renamed the Polaroid Corporation—was producing polarizers for a variety of uses, including sunglasses and camera lens filters.
But land’s real eureka moment came during a vacation to Santa Fe in 1943. After taking a family photo, his three-year-old daughter asked why she couldn’t see it right away. On a walk that afternoon, he 1 came up with a solution—why not combine the film and chemicals used to develop it? So Land designed special sheets of film with pouches of chemicals on one side that would be spread across the negative by rollers after the picture was taken. The first Polaroid camera, introduced in 1948, could produce a black-and-white print in 60 seconds. The color Polaroid cameras of the ’60s and ’70s sold so well that Land was a billionaire when he retired in 1982.
pioneer (n.) 先驅，倡導者
sneak (v.) 偷偷地走，溜
breakthrough (n.) 突破性的進展
physics (n.) 物理學