Bittersweet Kodak materiel: "Oh what fun we had!"

Scott Edelman sez, "With the news that Kodak is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, it seems the right time to take a look at an old timey Kodak photo wallet you'd have received had your film been developed in the UK during the ’30s. The copy declares -- 'What fun we had!' And yes, Kodak, we did. We did."

Oh, Kodak! “What fun we had,” indeed!


    1. I still have a 100′ can of 35mm Panatomic-X sitting in my freezer; at this point, perhaps the last rolls in existence. It’s my retirement fund…

      Used to use it for making B+W slides. Incredible tonal range; I still have the formula for 54-D, the redevelopment (paper) chemical that gave them an awesome selenium-style tone.

  1. While it’s not generally a good sign for a company, bankruptcy protection is not bankruptcy, and does not mean the company is dead or perhaps even dying. Chapter 11 allows companies to reorganize their debt and reach more favorable terms with lenders and vendors so that the company can survive. Scott rightly points out that this Kodak has filed for bankruptcy protection, but implies the wrong conclusion. I point this out because a lot of media just use the words “filed for bankruptcy” when talking about either Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 and it really confuses the issue.

    1.  It is just a waypoint on the road to the next bankruptcy. At some point it will be final. At some point assets will be sold, even the Kodak name, and we will have another zombie company like Polaroid or Bell & Howell that barely reflects what the business used to be. Some holding corporation will get the Kodak IP and like the other two I mentioned, rent out the name so some Asian junk will seem familiar to the American people.

      1. Just like how people and families with debt never, ever succeed in moving on with their lives.

        Yes, often you’re right, but waetherman’s point is still a good one.

  2. Can’t read the second (?valley of the wyre?), but the first scribble on the package is Fountains Abbey, which among other things has been a shooting location for various pro projects as well as Kodak snappers, including an OMD video and the recentish movie based on an Alan Bennett play, The History Boys.

    And also, though Wikipedia doesn’t mention it, it’s the day-trip destination for the cycling  club of Bennett’s first-ever TV play, A Day Out, filmed in 1972 but set in 1911 and featuring my uncle David as Shuttleworth.

    1. “Materiel” refers specifically to equipment used by military forces.

      Not just the military.

      “the aggregate of things used or needed in any business, undertaking, or operation (distinguished from personnel).”

  3. Well if they had stuck to what they knew and were not so clueless they might have weathered the digital world:

    As Kodak struggles, Eastman Chemical thrives

    Instead they continue to throw the baby out with the bathwater while they party their remaining funds away:

    Kodak Sells Off Its Gelatin Business

    So now the value of my film camera to continues to drop because of the loss of all those older great films that are no longer made. Once Kodachrome 25/64 was removed, color in the 35mm film format was seriously compromised. And soon it appears their remaining list will go the way of the dodo too.

    1.  Buck up, faster computers and 25+ megapixel full frame sensors at a consumer level coming in the next five years. I know, I know just like those freaks who like the smell of old books, you like the smell of chemicals. To each his own.

      1. My unstated point was that without gelatin they can’t make film.

        And actually film is a different medium than digital, so while they might seem the same they’re not.

      2.  It doesn’t matter how many pixels you’ve got. There’s a difference between imprinting an image onto bits and chemicals. It’s not about nostalgia, as you seem to suggest. The music industry learned the same lesson, moving to all-digital recording setups, and then realizing that recording to magnetic tape sounded a lot better. And on film, light, tonality, color — those things are captured differently. It gives the image a certain personality that bits and bytes just don’t have. And no amount of instagram effects can replace it. Better, well that’s up for debate. But it’s a stylistic option that shouldn’t be shuffled so quickly into history.

  4. I cut my photographic teeth on Ektachrome. I used to roll my own from a bulk reel.

    It’s sad. Kodak actually made some decent digital cameras, but they just couldn’t get around their old timey image.

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