Polaroid logo used since 1996
|Founded||Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.; 1937|
|Founder||Edwin H. Land|
|Headquarters||Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.|
|Scott W. Hardy (CEO)|
|Parent||PLR IP Holdings, LLC|
Polaroid was an American company best known for its instant film and cameras. The company was founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land, to exploit the use of its Polaroid polarizing polymer. 3 Land ran the company until 1981. Its peak employment was 21,000 in 1978, and its peak revenue was $3 billion in 1991.:
When the original Polaroid Corporation was declared bankrupt in 2001,its brand and assets were sold off. The "new" Polaroid formed as a result, itself declaring bankruptcy in 2008, resulting in a further sale. In May 2017, the brand and intellectual property of Polaroid Corporation were acquired by the largest shareholder of the Impossible Project, which had originally started out in 2008 by producing new instant films for Polaroid cameras. The Impossible Project was renamed Polaroid Originals in September 2017, and in March 2020 was renamed to simply Polaroid.
The original Polaroid Corporation was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Edwin Land and George W. Wheelwright III in 1937. [ citation needed ] Polaroid, owning patents to its polarizer technology, got its start by employing polarization in products that included 3-D movies and glare-reducing goggles for dogs. During World War II, Polaroid designed and manufactured numerous products for the armed services including an infrared night viewing device. He led the company as CEO for 43 years. He headed the Polaroid Corporation, developing it from a small research and marketing firm into a well known high-tech company. Kodak was a customer for some of Land's polarizing products. Recognized by most as the father of instant photography, he included all the operations of a darkroom inside the film itself. Land was pictured on the cover of Life magazine in 1972 with the inscription, "A Genius and His Magic Camera".Described by The Boston Globe as a "juggernaut of innovation", and "the Apple of its time" with a "leader in Edwin Land, a scientist who guided the company as the founding CEO for four decades". Polaroid’s initial market was in polarized sunglasses — spawned from Land’s self-guided research in light polarization. Land, having completed his freshman year at Harvard University, left to pursue this market, resulting in Polaroid's birth. Land later returned to Harvard to continue his research.
In the 1940s, Polaroid purchased the B B Chemical Company building at 784 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts for its headquarters. The landmarkStreamline Moderne style structure would be added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1982.
When Kodak announced instant film cameras in 1976, Polaroid announced they were suing them, accusing Kodak of having stolen its patented instant photography process.In the two years that followed the lawsuit, total sales of instant cameras climbed from 7.4 million cameras in 1976 to 10.3 million in 1977 and 14.3 million in 1978. The suit in federal court lasted 10 years. Polaroid asked for $12 billion for infringements of its patents by Kodak. The court ruled in favor of Polaroid, and ordered Kodak to cease instant picture production, plus pay Polaroid $909.5 million of the $12 billion it had asked for.
In 1977, Land introduced the Polaroid Instant Home Movie camera named Polavision, based on the Dufaycolor process. However, the product arrived on the market when videotape-based systems were rapidly gaining popularity. Thus it failed to sell well in retail stores and has been described as the swan song for Polaroid. After four decades as chairman, Edwin Land was coerced into resigning and leaving the corporation he had founded. He died in 1991. The Polavision debacle eventually caused the company to write off $89 million, [ citation needed ]including most of the manufactured products. The underlying technology of Polavision was later improved for use in the Polachrome instant slide film system.
In the 1980s, Polaroid tried to reinvent itself without Land at its helm by shifting away from a dependence on consumer photography, a market which was in steady decline. Polaroid was forced to make wholesale changes that included having to fire thousands of workers and close many factories. The 1990s saw the advent of new technologies that profoundly changed the world of photography — one-hour color film processing, single-use cameras from competitors, videotape camcorders, and digital cameras.
The company also was one of the early manufacturers of digital cameras, with the PDC-2000 in 1996;however, they failed to capture a large market share in that segment.
They also made 35 mm and multi format scanners, such as Polaroid SprintScan 4000 35 mm scanner (the first scanner with a 4000 DPI CCD) in 1999, and the Polaroid PrintScan 120 in 2000. The scanners received mixed reviews and saw heavy competition from Nikon and Minolta products. The entire line was discontinued when Polaroid entered bankruptcy in 2001.[ citation needed ]
Prior to bankruptcy, the company sold its landmark, historicheadquarters building and surrounding property to The Bulfinch Companies for $10 million.
The original Polaroid Corporation filed for federal bankruptcy protection on October 11, 2001. The outcome was that within ten months, most of the business (including the "Polaroid" name itselfand non-bankrupt foreign subsidiaries) had been sold to Bank One's One Equity Partners (OEP). OEP Imaging Corporation then changed its name to Polaroid Holding Company (PHC). However, this new company operated using the name of its bankrupt predecessor, Polaroid Corporation.
Significant criticism surrounded this "takeover" because the process left executives of the company with large bonuses, while stockholders, as well as current and retired employees, were left with nothing. The company announced a plan that gave the top 45 executives bonuses just for staying at their jobs. Meanwhile, other employees were restricted from selling their stock before leaving their jobs. 31:
As part of the settlement, the original Polaroid Corporation changed its name to Primary PDC, Inc. As of late 2006 [update] , Primary PDC remained in existence under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but conducts no commercial business and has no employees.Having sold its assets, it was now effectively nothing more than an administrative shell. Primary PDC received approximately 35 percent of the "new" Polaroid, which was to be distributed to its unsecured creditors (including bondholders).
Polaroid’s bankruptcy is widely attributed to the failure of senior management — unable to anticipate the impact of digital cameras on its film business.This type of managerial failure is also known as the success trap.
After the bankruptcy, the Polaroid brand was licensed for use on other products with the assistance of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. In September 2002, World Wide Licenses, a subsidiary of The Character Group plc, was granted the exclusive rights for three years to manufacture and sell digital cameras under the Polaroid brand for distribution internationally.Polaroid branded LCDs and plasma televisions and portable DVD players had also appeared on the market.
On April 27, 2005, Petters Group Worldwide announced its acquisition of PHC. Petters has in the past bought up failed companies with well-known names for the value of those names. The same year, Flextronics purchased Polaroid's manufacturing operations and the decision was made to send most of the manufacturing to China.It stopped making Polaroid cameras in 2007 and discontinued the sale of Polaroid film after 2009 to the dismay of loyal consumers. On December 18, 2008, the post-reorganization Polaroid Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota. The bankruptcy filing came shortly after the criminal investigation of its parent company, Petters Group Worldwide, and the parent company founder, Tom Petters.
On April 2, 2009, Patriarch Partners won an auction for Polaroid Corporation's assets including the company's name, intellectual property, and photography collection. Patriarch's $59.1 million bid beat bids from PHC Acquisitions, Hilco Consumer Capital Corp and Ritchie Capital.
This led to some very contentious fighting and litigation, and Patriarch wound up walking away in early May 2009, and a joint venture between Gordon Brothers Brands LLC and Hilco Consumer Capital LP picked up the pieces. Quoting from a Reuters report which quoted some participants:
The move by New York-based Patriarch, a private-equity firm, [to drop their claim], follows US District Judge James Rosenbaum's ruling on Thursday in Minneapolis that putting the purchase on hold during appeal would threaten operations at Polaroid, which is spending its cash at a rate of $3 million a month.[ verify ]
On April 16, 2009, Polaroid won US Bankruptcy Court approval to be sold to a joint venture of Hilco Consumer Capital LP of Toronto and Gordon Brothers Brands LLC of Boston.
Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Brothers Brands announced the closing of the purchase of Polaroid Corporation on May 7, 2009, placing Polaroid Corporation in joint holding under a parent company named PLR IP Holdings, LLC. Former Executive Vice President and General Manager – Americas, Scott W. Hardy was named as the new President of Polaroid Corporation and PLR IP Holdings, LLC. The majority of employees remained in their positions at the company's Minnetonka, Minnesota headquarters as well as office locations in Boston, New York and Toronto.
On June 19, 2009, the new holding corporation for Polaroid, PLR IP Holdings, LLC announced an exclusive 5-year agreement with Summit Global Group to produce and distribute Polaroid-branded digital still cameras, digital video cameras, digital photo frames and PoGo-branded mobile products. Summit Global Group added several former Polaroid employees to their staff. The company expects the agreement to yield $1.3 billion in retail sales over an unspecified period beginning in 2009.
On January 5, 2010, Polaroid appointed Lady Gaga as "Creative Director" for the company.A press release stated that she would be the "new face" of Polaroid.
In 2017, the holding corporation for Polaroid, PLR IP Holdings, LLC, was acquired by Polish investor Wiacezlaw "Slava" Smołokowski.Smołokowski was already the largest shareholder in the Impossible Project—a company formed to continue production of Polaroid-compatible film after Polaroid themselves left the market—having been persuaded to invest in it by his son Oskar. The acquisition brought both companies under the control of the Smołokowski family.
The Impossible Project (already led by Oskar Smołokowski) was rebranded as Polaroid Originals, with the last factory producing Polaroid-compatible instant film cartridges in Enschede, Netherlands being rebranded under the new name later in 2017.
In March 2019, the new polaroid.com website listed instant cameras and supplies made by Polaroid Originals alongside its other products including digital cameras, sunglasses, the Cube action camera, and television units.
March 2020, Polaroid Originals rebranded as Polaroid, with the Polaroid Now being the first instant film camera in years to have the Polaroid branding.
In the 1990s, Polaroid was involved in corporate sponsorship of NASCAR. For several years, Polaroid was the principal sponsor of NASCAR's 125 mile Featherlite Modified race at Watkins Glen and it was called the "Polaroid 125". The Polaroid name was also used in sponsorship in the NASCAR Busch Series. In 1992, Polaroid was the principal sponsor of female NASCAR driver Shawna Robinson's #25 Oldsmobile in the Busch Series. They continued as her principal sponsor when she moved to the other car numbers in 1993 and 1994.
Polaroid formerly sponsored the Target Chip Ganassi [ page needed ]entry of Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Chevy Impala in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and entries in the IRL Indy Car Series, including the car driven by Dario Franchitti.
The Polaroid name has also been associated with the NOPI drift series. Polaroid was the principal sponsor of the Nissan 350Z driven by Nick Bollea in the 2007 season.
On February 8, 2008, Polaroid (under the control of Thomas J. Petters of Petters Group Worldwide) announced that the company has decided to gradually cease production and withdraw from analog instant film products completely in 2008.Since March 2010, instant film materials for vintage Polaroid cameras have again become available on the market, developed and manufactured by a group called The Impossible Project, at the former Polaroid production plant in Enschede, Netherlands.
Austrian photographer Florian Kaps, the owner of the largest online vendor for SX-70 films and organizer of the web-based instant photo gallery Polanoid.net, had bought the approximately 500,000 film packages that were on stock. He teamed with André Bosman, a former head of film production in the large Polaroid film factory at Enschede, designed a plan to redesign the SX-70/600 film system in collaboration with Ilford Photo, and convinced the Polaroid owners to participate. Plans for a relaunch under the Impossible label were announced in January 2009.Buildings in the Enschede plant, which had produced 30 million film packs in 2007 and 24 million in the first half of 2008, were leased to the company created by Kaps, who by May 2009 had raised $2.6 million from friends and family for what he had named The Impossible Project.
On March 22, 2010, Impossible announced the release of two monochromatic films, PX100 and PX600, compatible with SX-70 and 600 type cameras, respectively.Color films were initially released in 2010 for SX-70 type cameras, followed in 2011 with the release of much improved color films for Polaroid 600, SX-70 and Spectra Cameras.
Then Impossible had originally announced a new camera that was going to be styled after older Polaroid models to coincide with the new film. So, the camera was due to come out before Christmas 2010, but the deadline was not met with no new information on the camera.[ citation needed ] Then sometime after that, Impossible released a camera that did not look like any of the older Polaroid models. The camera was called the Impossible I-1 and it was the first camera to use I-type Film and was backwards compatible with 600 Film due to I-type film being 600 film without a battery. Then sometime after the rebranding to Polaroid Originals in September 2017, Polaroid Originals came out with another camera. The camera was called the OneStep 2, which was modeled after the original OneStep with new features as originally planned. But the OneStep 2 used the same type of film as the Impossible I-1 unlike the OneStep that used SX-70 Film.
On April 28, 2012, the documentary "Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film", directed by Grant Hamilton, was released in the U.S. It covers the rise, fall, and grass-roots revival of Polaroid's instant film technology.
In summer 2008 Polaroid released the PoGo, an instant photo printer producing 2 by 3 inches (51 mm × 76 mm) prints. It uses the Zink ("zero ink") technology which is similar to dye sublimation but has the dye crystals embedded in the photo paper itself. Models CZA-10011B and CZA-20011B exist (which Polaroid claim to be identical).
In 2009, the CZA-05300B PoGo, a 5 megapixel digital camera integrated with a Zink printer, was released.[ citation needed ]
In 2011, the company released the Polaroid GL10 Instant Mobile Printer producing 3 by 4 inch prints.The printer, designed by Polaroid and Lady Gaga, allows people to print directly from a mobile phone or digital camera. This product is the first product in the new Polaroid Grey Label line.
Polaroid released a line of cameras without printers including the t1035, a 10-megapixel digital camera.
In January 2012, Polaroid announced a new "smart camera", entitled the Polaroid SC1630 smart camera, which is powered by Google Android. The SC1630 is a combination of a camera and a portable media player, that allows users to take photos with a built-in 16 MP HD camera, download apps from Google Play, check their email, and browse the web. The built-in camera allows 3X optical zoom. Other features on the media player include wi-fi, touch screen, geotagging, smart albums, and 32 GB of storage via a micro SD card.
In September 2014 Polaroid introduced a $99 action camera named the "Polaroid Cube", marketed as an alternative to cameras such as the GoPro Hero (which retails for $129), specifically for casual, light users of action camcorders.In 2015 GoPro released the similar GoPro HERO4 Session.
In March 2006, the specialist design and development department in Polaroid's Vale of Leven plant in Scotland was bought out by its management team. Known as Wideblue the company specializes in helping small technology based companies develop products and manufacturing processes.
In 2014 Wideblue were hired to design the Impossible Project mass market instant camera.
The Eastman Kodak Company is an American public company that produces various products related to its historic basis in analogue photography. The company is headquartered in Rochester, New York, and is incorporated in New Jersey. Kodak provides packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services for businesses around the world. Its main business segments are Print Systems, Enterprise Inkjet Systems, Micro 3D Printing and Packaging, Software and Solutions, and Consumer and Film. It is best known for photographic film products.
Edwin Herbert Land, ForMemRS, FRPS, Hon.MRI was an American scientist and inventor, best known as the co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation. He invented inexpensive filters for polarizing light, a practical system of in-camera instant photography, and the retinex theory of color vision, among other things. His Polaroid instant camera went on sale in late 1948 and made it possible for a picture to be taken and developed in 60 seconds or less.
Fujifilm Holdings Corporation, trading as Fujifilm, or simply Fuji, is a Japanese multinational photography, imaging, printing, medical equipment, chemical, biotechnology company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.
The instant camera is a type of camera which uses self-developing film to create a chemically developed print shortly after taking the picture. Polaroid Corporation pioneered consumer-friendly instant cameras and film, and were followed by various other manufacturers.
Pentax is a brand name used primarily by Japanese multinational imaging and electronics company Ricoh for 35mm cameras, sport optics, and CCTV optics. The Pentax brand is also used by Hoya Corporation for medical products & services, TI Asahi for surveying instruments, and Seiko Optical Products for certain optical lenses.
Instant film is a type of photographic film that was introduced by Polaroid Corporation to produce a visible image within minutes or seconds of the photograph's exposure. The film contains the chemicals needed for developing and fixing the photograph, and the camera exposes and initiates the developing process after a photo has been taken.
The SX-70 is a folding single lens reflex Land camera which was produced by the Polaroid Corporation from 1972 to 1981.
The Polaroid Model 20 "Swinger" was a popular Land Camera produced by the Polaroid Corporation between July 1965 and 1970. At $19.95 and weighing only 21 ounces, it was the first truly inexpensive instant camera, a fact that helped fuel its enormous popularity and made it one of the top-selling cameras of all time. The Swinger was especially successful in the youth market due to its low price, stylish appearance, catchy Meet the Swinger jingle, as well as getting the camera into drugstores. In fact, it was so successful that it became Polaroid's best selling product at the time, and increased their share in the new camera market.
Polaroid Type 55 film is a black-and-white peel-apart Polaroid film that yields both a positive print and a negative image that can be used to create enlargements.
Instax is a brand of instant still cameras and instant films marketed by Fujifilm.
Polaroid Eyewear manufactures polarized sunglasses and polarized lenses, as well as optical frames, reading glasses, and clip-on lenses.
Polaroid may refer to:
The Land Camera 1000 is an instant camera manufactured by Polaroid Corporation. In the United States, it was marketed as the OneStep. Based on the Polaroid SX-70, the camera includes a one element 103mm f/14.6 plastic lens, fixed focus and an exposure compensation dial knob. It uses the SX-70 time zero film, now manufactured by Polaroid Originals. There is a flash specifically made for this model: the Q-light flash. They had two unique shutter colors: red and green.
The Polaroid 20×24 camera is a very large instant camera made by Polaroid, with film plates that measure a nominal 20 by 24 inches, giving the camera its name, although at least one camera takes pictures that are 23 by 36 inches.
Polaroid, previously Polaroid Originals and The Impossible Project, is a Dutch photography company founded in 2008 by Florian Kaps, André Bosman and Marwan Saba. It manufactures its own cameras, the Impossible I-1, the OneStep 2, the OneStep+, modelled on the original Polaroid OneStep Land Camera, the i-Type instant film for its original cameras, and instant film for select Polaroid Corporation instant cameras.
Calumet Photographic, Inc., often shortened to Calumet Photo and formerly known as Calumet Manufacturing Company, is a photographic retail and photofinishing specialty store, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. In 2012, the company owned and operated a chain of 32 locations worldwide. The company had 15 locations in the United States, 8 in the United Kingdom, 6 in Germany, 2 in the Netherlands and 1 in Belgium, with 200 employees and an annual revenue of $10 million.
The Polaroid Collection was a collection of fine-art photographs assembled by the Polaroid Corporation. The collection was initiated in the 1940s by Ansel Adams and Edwin Land. Following the company's 2008 bankruptcy, the collection was broken up for sale in 2010.
Substantially all of the assets of Polaroid Corporation were sold to OEP Imaging Operating Corporation (OEPI) on July 31, 2002. As part of the agreement, OEPI changed its name to Polaroid Corporation and the "former" Polaroid Corporation changed its name to Primary PDC, Inc. [which] operates under the protection of Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and is responsible for [administration] related to the "former" Polaroid Corporation.
On July 31, 2002, OEP Imaging Corporation (OEP) acquired substantially all the assets of Polaroid Corporation. OEP then changed its name to Polaroid Holding Company (New Polaroid) and Polaroid Corporation changed its name to Primary PDC, Inc. (Old Polaroid). [..] Old Polaroid no longer conducts commercial business and has no employees.
PLR IP Holdings, LLC, owners of the Polaroid™ brand, today announced a multi-year strategic partnership with Lady Gaga, who will serve as creative director for a specialty line of Polaroid Imaging products.
Polaroid’s brand and [IP] has been acquired by the largest shareholder of The Impossible Project [..] Now a single family has control of both the [Polaroid and Impossible] [..] [Owner of Polaroid..] brand and IP, PLR IP Holdings, LLC, was [sold to an] ownership group led by the Smolokowski family. [..] Wiacezlaw “Slava” Smolokowski acquired a 20% stake in The Impossible Project back [in 2012]. In 2014, [son Oskar became] CEO of The Impossible Project [..] The elder Smolokowski is now Impossible’s largest shareholder.
PoGo printer is the common name for the original Polaroid Instant Mobile printer which produces 2*3 instant prints. CZA-10011 and CZA-20011 are model numbers for the PoGo Printer and differ only in their packaging.
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