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Timeline - The Kodak moment fades

Eastman Kodak Co EK N filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday, capping a prolonged plunge for one of America's best-known companies.

business Updated: May 03, 2012 16:14 IST

Some key events in the history of the company, which invented the hand-held camera and brought photography to the masses:

1879 - George Eastman, a high-school dropout from rural New York, goes to London to obtain a patent on his plate-coating machine.

1880 - Eastman leases the third floor of a building on State Street in Rochester, New York, and begins to make dry plates for sale.

1881 - Eastman and businessman Henry Strong form a partnership called the Eastman Dry Plate Company.

1888 - The name Kodak is born and the Kodak camera is placed on the market, with the slogan: "You Press The Button - We Do The Rest."

1896 - The 100,000th Kodak camera is manufactured. The pocket Kodak camera sold for $5.

1900 - Brownie camera is introduced -- sells for $1.

1901 - Eastman Kodak Company of New Jersey, the present parent company, is formed. George Eastman becomes president. Strong remains the head of the New York company until his death in 1919.

1919 - George Eastman gifts one-third of his Kodak stock - worth roughly $10 million at the time - to employees.

1920 - Establishes a chemicals subsidiary to supply acetic acid and other photographic chemicals to Kodak.

1929 - Introduces its first motion picture film designed for making movies with sound tracks.

1930 - Buys a gelatin manufacturing plant in Peabody, Massachusetts, and forms Eastman Gelatin Corporation.

1932 - George Eastman, suffering from a painful spinal disorder, commits suicide with a bullet to the heart. He leaves a note that says: "My work is done. Why wait?"

1975 - Invents the world's first digital camera, a toaster-sized image sensor that captured rough hues of black and white.

1980 - Celebrates 100th anniversary. Enters the clinical diagnostic market.

1981 - Sales cross the $10 billion mark.

1994 - Spins off its chemicals business, Eastman Chemical Co, to help pay down debt.

1997 - Stock touches all-time high of $94.38. The stock closed at $0.55 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

1999 - Sells digital printer, copier/duplicator and roller assembly operations to Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG.

2004 - Kodak kicked off the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It had been a member since 1930.

2005 - Ranked No. 1 in US digital camera sales.

2007 - The last year Kodak turns an annual profit.

2009 - Decides to suspend cash dividends.

2010 - By the end 2010, Kodak has equivalent of 18,800 full-time employees. Its digital camera market share has fallen to 7 percent, ranking seventh behind Canon Inc, Sony Corp, Nikon Corp and others, according to IDC.


Feb 3 - Kodak investors stage a mini-revolt at a meeting at the New York Stock Exchange, yelling at CEO Antonio Perez when he leaves the stage. One investor accuses him of having "zero credibility."

July 20 - Kodak announces it is shopping around a portion of its digital patent portfolio and is being advised by Lazard.

Sept 26 - Kodak borrows $160 million against its credit line, raising fears about its liquidity.

Sept 30 - Kodak says it has hired restructuring experts.

Nov 3 - Warns that it may need to raise new debt or complete a multibillion-dollar patent sale to survive the next 12 months.

Dec 27-30 - Three directors step down from board, including two from private equity firm KKR & Co


Jan 3 - New York Stock Exchange warns Kodak its shares may be delisted.

Jan 10 - Kodak announces a new business structure that divides its film group into its two other business units.

Files a lawsuit against Apple Inc accusing it of infringing four patents related to digital camera images. Kodak later also files patent infringement suits against Fujifilm Holdings Corp and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Jan 19 - Files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the US bankruptcy court in Manhattan.

First Published: Jan 20, 2012 18:48 IST