History Of Kodachrome Slides

A Brief History Of Kodachrome Slides

Photography buffs have probably heard about Kodachrome slides, but they’ve fallen out of use in recent years. However, Kodachrome slides still have a huge impact on how we’ve used photography over the years.

Are you interested in learning about the history of Kodachrome slides?

Read on to learn more.

The Beginnings of Kodachrome Slides

Kodachrome first came onto the marketplace in 1935. While there had been previous forms of color photography, they used additive methods rather than subtractive methods, which weren’t as clean and clear.

The first version of Kodachrome was invented in 1913, by John Cap, but this version was quickly abandoned. The next version was developed in the 1930s by Leopold Mannes and Leopold Godowsky Jr. This process involved using several different emulsions to generate colors.

Eventually, the process was improved so that Kodachrome could be used in multiple different formats for the best possible quality when shooting different images, either professionally or for personal use.

Kodachrome was then used to document some of the biggest moments of the century. As soon as 1936, Kodachrome was used to document the Hindenburg disaster.

Kodachrome was also used in video filming. Abraham Zapruder accidentally captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy using Kodachrome.  The photographer Steve McCurry was also well known for his use of Kodachrome. One of his images even made the cover of National Geographic.

The Fall of Kodachrome

The popularity of Kodachrome began falling after the 1960s and 1970s. Other technologies were being developed so people could document the things going on in their lives.

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Kodak developed other technologies, like Kodak Ektachrome. And, other companies joined the market with their own products, like Fujifilm Fujichrome. The sales of Kodachrome declined further and further for many years, as different and more exciting technologies emerged onto the market.

However, there are reasons that Kodachrome stayed popular as long as it did. Kodachrome stands up well to being archived, particularly when it’s preserved in optimal conditions — in dark, temperate locations, for example. 

Kodachrome Slides Today

Obviously, Kodachrome slides aren’t often used in today’s world. Once digital photography became popular (not to mention smartphones, which nowadays have high-quality cameras), film photography and videography became far less popular.

In fact, Kodak discontinued Kodachrome back in 2009. In 2017, there were rumors that Kodak was planning to reintroduce Kodachrome, but that has yet to transpire.

But, because Kodachrome slides tend to last for so long, you can definitely still restore your old Kodachrome slides if you have them on hand. If you come across Kodachrome slides, you can use Envision Video Services to convert your slides into a format you can actually work with.

Now You Know About Kodachrome Slides

Clearly, the history of Kodachrome slides is more interesting than you might think at first glance.

Are you interested in reading more about technology and other topics? Scroll through some of our other posts for more of what you’re looking for.