Photograph courtesy of Kodak Cameras - The First Hundred Years by Brian Coe ISBN No. 906447-44-5
George Eastman's idea was to produce a camera, fully loaded with film, sell it to the budding photographers and when the film was all used up, 100 photographs, the camera was to be returned to him, he would then unload the exposed film, reload the camera with fresh film and return it to the customer. He would then process the film and send the negatives and prints to the customer. Something that Kodak still does today.
His first design for a camera was not successful as it had a very complex shutter that was too hard and too expensive to put into production and so a simpler and cheaper single blade shutter was made.
These cameras sold well and so George Eastman decided that it was time to give this new venture its own name.
He wanted a name for this new company but it had to fit certain criteria.

1/ The name had to start with the letter "K" as Eastman liked that letter and felt that it was a strong letter.

2/ The name had to be able to be pronounced in any language throughout the world.

3/ The name was not allowed to be confused with any other trade name throughout the world.

4/ And most importantly it was not allowed to mean anything.

It is most difficult to come up with one name that meets all these criteria but eventually Eastman came up with KODAK.
This name starts with Eastman's favorite letter, can be pronounced in any language throughout the world, can not be confused with any other trade name throughout the world and does not mean anything.
But how did George Eastman come up with this name?
One day, whilst sitting at his desk trying to think up a name for this company, Eastman was absent mindedly pressing the shutter release button on one of his early cameras. This was one of the models that had the complex shutter, and as the shutter went round the sound that it made sounded like KODAK, KODAK, and that is where George Eastman got the inspiration for the name.
Eastman's organization never looked back from this point, continuing to develop innovatory cameras and new film types based on the philosophy of the first Kodak camera sales slogan "You press the button, we do the rest."
In 1932, suffering from terminal cancer, and having settled all his affairs, he shot himself through the heart, leaving a note: " To my friends: My work is done. Why wait? G.E." The organization he left behind survived the shock, and to the present day continues to develop new cameras and film types for the mass market.

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