Kodak Recognized as a National Historic Chemical Landmark

Kodak Sign

Eastman Kodak has received the National Historic Chemical Landmark designation by the American Chemical Society (ACS). This award recognizes companies for significant contributions to chemistry and science, and positive impact of the company’s products on the lives of consumers.

The ACS is a 140-year-old non-profit scientific organization chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1876 and bills itself as “a champion for chemistry, its practitioners, and our global community of members,” with a vision to “improve people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.”

According to WXXI News, a public radio station in the Rochester area, Eastman Kodak was awarded the recognition on Monday in a celebration at the company’s Ridge Road facility. Kodak is only the seventh organization in New York State to receive this designation.

The award recognizes Eastman Kodak as “The Birthplace of Consumer Photography” and heralds the company’s long history in photographic chemicals and processes.

ACS President Angela Wilson said that the award “honors George Eastman, Eastman Kodak, and the many generations of Kodak chemists, scientists, and engineers who made photography an everyday part of our lives before the advent of smartphones and digital cameras.”

Eastman Kodak’s Chief Technology Officer Terry Taber spoke to WPPI about the company’s legacy in photography–which the award was for—and also upcoming projects and continued work in areas like batteries and pharmaceuticals.

While the chemical waste from film photography was one of its strongest detriments, Kodak has spent millions of dollars to clean pollution caused by its long-time film processing manufacturing.

“We use different processes, we do a lot more recover, reuse, and we choose different materials,” says Taber. “It starts all the way back in the R&D phase, that whatever you’re going to make you think about how that’s going to go into a product, how it’s going to be manufactured, how it’s going to be used by the customer and what’s going to happen to it.”

Eastman Kodak was founded in 1892 by George Eastman and Henry A. Strong and soon became one of the driving forces in photography. In 2012 the company filed for bankruptcy and began selling off divisions, including its photographic film brand. Kodak continued production of motion picture film, an area in which the company is still a primary resource.

During the COVID pandemic, the company shifted its focus to the pharmaceutical industry.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.