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Word Count: 659
George Eastman was your average teenager He was a high school dropout judged not especially gifted when measured against the academic standards at the time His family was poor but he took it upon himself to support his two sisters and his widowed mother one of the sisters were severely handicapped At the age of 14 he began his career as an office boy in an insurance company Soon after he was a clerk in a local bank When Eastman was 24 he made plans for a vacation to Santo Domingo When a co-worker suggested he make a record of the trip Eastman bought a photographic outfit with all the paraphernalia of the wet plate days The camera was as big as a microwave oven and needed a heavy tripod In addition he carried a tent so that he could spread photographic emulsion on glass plates before exposing them and develop the exposed plates before they dried out There were chemicals glass tanks a heavy plate holder and a jug of water The complete outfit was a pack-horse load as he described it Learning how to use it to take pictures cost 5 Eastman did not make the Santo Domingo trip However he did become completely absorbed in photography and sought to simplify the complicated process He worked at the bank during the day and experimented at home in his mothers kitchen at night His mother said that some nights Eastman was so tired he couldnt undress but slept on a blanket on the floor beside the kitchen stove After three years of photographic experiments Eastman had a formula that worked By 1880 he had not only invented a dry plate formula but had patented a machine for preparing large numbers of the plates He quickly recognized the possibilities of making dry plates for sale to other photographers Eastmans experiments were directed to the use of a lighter and more flexible support than glass His
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