Edwin H. Land, 81, inventor of Polaroid, 3D movies, dies

March 02, 1991

Edwin H. Land, 81, inventor of instant photography and founder of Polaroid Corp., died yesterday after a long illness in Cambridge, Mass.

Mr. Land, who founded Polaroid in 1937 and the Rowland Institute for Science Inc. in 1980, introduced the instant camera in 1947.

The idea was said to have struck him when he took a picture of his 3-year-old daughter and she asked why she had to wait to see it.

During his tenure at Polaroid, the company introduced instant color photography in 1963 and made a major breakthrough in 1972 with the SX-70 system, which produced a vivid picture outside the camera.

Instant X-rays and a 3D movie projector were among his more than 500 patents.

In 1982, Mr. Land gave up his seat on Polaroid's board and left his post as consulting director of basic research. He continued as honorary chairman.

Mr. Land was born in Bridgeport, Conn. He graduated with honors from Norwich Academy and entered Harvard University.

As a freshman, he launched his experiments on ways to polarize light, to filter out diffuse light waves that cause glare.

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