Forty years ago today, Edwin Land took the stage at Polaroid’s annual meeting to introduce SX-70. He had teased it for years, once briefly revealing an early model (prototype? block of wood?) in his coat pocket, then mentioning it in carefully doled-out bits of information. This week, though, it was time for the whole thing to be shown, and quite a show it was. A Polaroid warehouse in Needham, Massachusetts, was fitted out as a makeshift theater; octagonal stations were built where photos could be shot and displayed. There were a couple of hundred working cameras in the room—and indeed in the world, because production hadn’t ramped up yet.
The shareholders watched photos being taken and saw them develop, but the cameras were hands-off, because Polaroid feared industrial spies, especially from Kodak. Every photo that was shot got a hole punched in its white border, and was then anchored with a stout steel pin to a slotted piece of solid oak lining one of the octagons. One photo got out anyway, as did a bag of the hole-punch chads, which most likely went to Kodak for chemical analysis.
In between demonstrations and lectures, the shareholders got to watch a short film made by Charles and Ray Eames, titled SX-70. It’s just a marvel of understated selling: the power of explanation and demonstration, deployed in the service of a fantastically interesting product. If you haven’t seen it before, you are in for an extremely nice 11 minutes. Enjoy:
LEGALITIESThis site is not connected with or endorsed by Polaroid or PLR IP Holdings, owners of the Polaroid trademark.
BUY THE BOOK
WATCH THE TRAILER
- @ftrain Charter subscriber here, kept on till I outgrew it. Still have Issue No. 1. about 1 hour ago from Twitter Web Client in reply to ftrain ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Not a drill. Go read 'em. https://t.co/lM3gXDfWkW about 2 hours ago from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
- @john_overholt Published by a house called Impact Library. That seems about right. about 9 hours ago from Twitter for iPhone in reply to john_overholt ReplyRetweetFavorite