Tammy's All Things History

Bringing the Past to Life!



George Eastman: Creator of Kodak Film

George Eastman is the man behind the creation of the Kodak film business. Kodak is a household name but not any name for familiar to George as he made the name up. Why didn’t George name it after himself? Maybe he thought his invention would not go far and he wanted to save himself some embarrassment. Not only did the business do well but George made more money than he could have imagined. To celebrate his success, he donated money to some of his favorite organizations where he felt the extra finances would be a welcomed blessing.

George was born in Waterville, New York on July 12, 1854. At the time, the western half of the United States was still primarily frontier. So, living on the East Coast and in New York was not too bad. Life was busy there, and the newspaper brought the political gossip of the day. George’s parents were well off. His father was in charge of a business college in Rochester. His mother stayed home caring for George who was the baby of the family. No doubt the two sisters older than him helped out nurturing and caring for George.

When George reached age 7, his father died. His mother rented rooms in the home to earn income and keep her family going. George loved going to school in Rochester but felt his mother needed him at home more. In 1877, at the age of 23, George found work as a bookkeeper. He earned good money and saved what he could to invest in his hobby as an amateur photographer. During a trip to Mackinac Island in Michigan, George spilled photographic chemicals and ruined his clothes. He needed a better way to travel with his photography supplies and thought about what he could do.

The first thing George did was try photography using dry plates instead of wet ones. This new technique took the messy spill able chemical away during photo processing. He then created a coating machine to apply gelatin to a dry plate and the device he used for this he patented in England in 1879 and the United States in 1880. After selling his English patent, he opened a shop in his hometown to manufacture his plate. He eventually replaced the glass with paper. When someone developed film, they could pull the paper away, and the remaining product was a negative copy.

George, along with another man named William Walker, took the product one step further by creating a roll, forming a more extended portion of the film and a holder for storage. The holder could fit any camera at the time. Sometime later others came along to create a similar product using the technology used by workers in Eastman’s manufacturing plant. A lawsuit ensued with George having to pay the suing party a large sum of money. It did not deter him, however. He continued to work to improve his product. In 1888, George created a Camera he named Kodak. This camera allowed ordinary folks to take photos and send them to the manufacturing plant for processing. It was easy to use and affordable. George marketed his product on simplicity and convenience. By 1892 George founded Eastman Kodak Company where his film products could be mass produced.

George continued to improve his product and to reinvent his business. He was a driven man not only for money and prestige but also he looked for ways to give back to society. George was a job creator. He treated employees well and assisted other inventors. George provided products used in Hollywood and world war. George never married. Perhaps he never found the time to find a suitor. Maybe his world gave him joy nothing else could. George ended his own life after pondering his accomplishments. He did this because he felt he had completed his work on earth and there wasn’t anything else for him to do. His rest was to be his final rest.

What would George think of his product now where so many have depended on his technology? Even today with all of the digital technology available there are those out there was still love to process film and enjoy the products that George created over 100 years ago.

The George Eastman Museum 

History on Saturday: A Few Good History Blogs



Please let me introduce to you some cool blogs that I follow. Not only are they cool, but each blogger has come up with uniquely creative ideas and ways of presenting history.

1. Practically Historical’s Facts in Five. This feature sums up a whole bunch of history in a short amount of reading time. These are fun, interesting and relevant facts. They are also some good jumping points to start some new curious research topics.

2. Stillness of Heart’s Recommended Reading Viewing Listening. This list offers some current or past articles to read that are intellectual in nature. It is also a way for the author to share some of his likes. I find it an easy, quick and curious read.

3. The History as Prologue Google+ is a history and current event discussion group. This blog is an offshoot of Mark’s History as Prologue blog. History as Prologue blog. He offers the “theme of the week” in this group. He bases his topics in history that connect the past to current historical problems for discussion.

4. And my very own History on Saturday feature. Why not? Simply because people look for something interesting to do or read on Saturday.

I like these individual creations within these blogs. I think that blogging is a great platform to share ideas and personal creativity. I look forward to finding more blogs like these.

Conserve, Re-use, Recycle

People at tea in the Victorian Age. A way to show off social status.

Our current time is full of creativity and innovation. One area we see this is by sharing ideas of conservation, reuse and recycling to preserve and protect our precious metals and environment. This is not new really but seems to be a pattern in history. As people evolved throughout the centuries and in their societies, they found ways to improve their daily lives. Conservation seen progressively shows these changes. Each generation finds a problem that is likely to affect future generations and they set about to solve it. People used creative thinking and a bit of tinkering to provide solutions for theirs and future generations while at the same time preserving their heritage. They passed the information down and this is important because in our time when we struggle with something we look to the past to see what worked and what did not. We then discover starting points for new areas to consider. Still, it is interesting to gauge change over time by looking at how much ideas have evolved. This leads to the wonder of what kinds of things helped to form the ideas for change. Some would say that people of the past were unskilled or un-knowledgeable. This may be true in some cases and in others, it can be judging them because we fail to take into consideration of how people lived, their environment and how much or how little inspiration for ideas they might have had. The outcome just might be that people in the past were as smart as we are today, or even had a little more advanced intellect.

417 - Victorian Dresser Set with Brush, Mirror, cut glass Hair Receiver & Pin holder
Two containers pictured to the right were used to store hair from brushes and combs.

In the Victorian Era, it was common for conservation, re-use and recycle. Women and girls, for example, re-used their hair, fallen out in brushes and combs, to create beauty or for other household uses. Men repaired and rebuilt broken dishes or other items of daily use. People conserved, reused and recycled porcelain dinner plates carefully and tenderly mended them not by tape or glue (a modern convenience) but by stapling metal pieces into them thus holding them together. Men shaved broken areas to create a new pattern or look that was unique to each family. In the Victorian Age, uniqueness was a status symbol for which individuals and families could be proud.

Broken plate that is repaired using string and metal staples.

Like Nancy Feldbush, says in her published article in the monthly magazine of the Michigan Historical Society’s, Chronicle…“The next time you visit a museum with household items, keep an eye out for this wonderful historical sample of conservation at its “greenest.” (1)

I certainly will. I have seen plates like this before in museums, but I thought they were just preserved that way by museum staff. Now when I observe the plates I can imagine further what kind of status symbol it was for the family. I will wonder how much importance this piece was to the many lives that touched them.

Reference used:

(1) Nancy Feldbush, Historical Tidbits: A Riveting Tale of Conservation, ” in Chronicle: 37, no. 3 (Fall 2014) :10.

What’s Happening? -The Dumb Moment


From movie: Dumb and Dumber

Do you ever have that dumb moment when you do something so dumb, it baffles you? I had one of those days today. I was clicking and reading through some blogs on WordPress. One page I was reading came with music! I thought, wow, I can do that with my blog! Turns out it was a game I had opened in another tab. There was no music playing on a blog site. What a dumb moment! Do not worry, I am not going to add music to my blog site. I know that is annoying to some folks.


History on Saturday: The Smithsonian’s Exhibit of Earl Shaffer and the Appalachian Trail

Earl Shaffer, courtesy of The National American History Museum

Summer is for adventure. So, gather around the computer for an online tour of The Smithsonian’s Exhibit of Earl Shaffer and the Appalachian Trail. As documented in the exhibit, Shaffer was a tired veteran of World War II and sought solitude in the mountains to clear his head and plan his future. I know that feeling, having retired from the US. Army myself. Veterans tend to want some peaceful quiet and privacy after military life. As Shaffer embarked upon his journey, he documented what he saw. This was to share his information with folks back home.

Fortunately, his writings have been preserved so future generations can be further inspired by his perseverance at innovation. He took what he had learned in the army and put it to good use with his explorations. Who knew that a small idea would lead to so much success with his trail blazing. He encouraged folks to be brave and bold and to seek out adventures in America’s nature preserves. At the same time, he educated people about some of the beauty nature had to offer and avenues for further exploration.

See the exhibit here:

Finding Ideas for Historical Writing



First, a blog update:

I have not written much on my blog since it was introduced in 2012. One reason for this is because since that time I re-enrolled in school. So, my time has been critical and management a top priority. Another reason is due to writer’s block and writer fatigue. I have had to write so much in class that my mind gets clogged with information overload. I sit at the PC wanting to blog something, but my creative juices just will not flow.

To get out of the funk, I do follow a number of other blogs, and they all inspired me to keep the faith and keep pushing on. They inspired me to keep going on with my studies in class and to continue publishing a blog post once in a while. It is OK if I do not blog every day or every month. A blog is something I can come back to when the time and space are right. While searching for something to write about, finding historical topics to blog about, I found is a good place to start back up with.

from my library


I usually find ideas for my blog by reading books. I find little known tidbits of history in them, and the light goes off in my head, and I think I could write a blog about it. But when I am up to my eyeballs in class stuff, reading for leisure gets swept to the wayside. Recently I sat down and thought up a few ideas for finding history topics. It has always been a problem for me. What to write about. I don’t want to get too broad with a subject because then the job gets too big to handle. I don’t want it to be too narrow because then I can’t find anything relevant to add to the discussion. Whatever I set about to write, reading other books by other historians or non-historians always gives me ideas for blogging.

History tv
some found here


I recently listened to the American Historical Association president talk about historians moving to a global approach with historical interpretation and this got me thinking. I should do a global historical topic. I should do something that tie in two or three countries over a particular topic. I can keep it simple by finding just find one common theme and blog about it.



Other bloggers

Some fellow bloggers are busy in school as well, or they are in a block of their own kind. In that instance, some of them only post a picture to write about and add a few lines. This is great because it stimulates the reader’s imagination and allows them to ask questions. Others might blog about current issues like global conflicts or global economic issues that affect us nationally. Others break their topics down so much and only blog about one thing. This is cool because the narrower a topic is the more the reader is able to question the information and this lead to sleuthing for more information on a topic.


Creating ideas

With history, the possibilities are endless. We just have to broaden our thinking and get creative with it and see what opportunities arise from the thoughts we create and share.




History on Saturday: Self-expression


The photo controversy showing the soldiers on a funeral posing wildly in front of a flag draped coffin got me thinking about something. It got me thinking about self expression and how it evolves from generation to generation.


Take for instance the 1960s. People then used rioting, parading and socializing to protest harsh authority and rigid, stuffy rules. They wanted to break out of the old mold and revolutionize the way people thought and lived in America. When confronted with their idea of self-expression they asked their parents: When are you going to listen to our generation?


The 1980s was another time of self-expression. This time it was more through music. The music was loud and it came with some extreme forms of dress and self-expression. Parents rose up in opposition citing the music was evil, satanic and an influence toward violence and drugs.  When confronted with their idea of self-expression the youth asked their parents: When are you going to listen to our generation?


In the 1990s and 2000s people started self-expressing with body art and of course they were met with opposition. People with tattoos, long hair and piercings will not be able to get a job, they said. When confronted with their idea of self-expression they asked their parents: When are you going to listen to our generation?

Self-Expression (1)

Currently the new form of self-expression is through photo media and social media sites. People can really self-express in ways that were unimaginable in the 1960s, the 1980s or even the 2000s. Youth are breaking out of old molds, looking at their own history and re-defining self-expression in some very creative ways. When confronted with their idea of self-expression they ask their parents: When are you going to listen to our generation?


Historians in the future will have to decipher the meanings of the change in self-expression and how those expressions influenced or changed society. One thing is certain and that is each generation chooses to self-express but forget that when they were young they created controversial new ways of self-expression too. What might offend us now may be the new normal twenty or fifty years from now. Those in the future will look back and ask why we were so opposed to that new normal. Just like we do when we look at our history and ponder why youth did what they did to self-express themselves in the past. The important thing is that each generation learns something about themselves, their past and their future. They take what they learned and create a new normal. The history that is made will mean something in the future to someone who asks why it happened.

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