Being able to take photographs easily came within the grasp of the average American in September 1888 -- when George Eastman patented the first camera to use dry, flexible, roll film. Before that, photographers had to use wet glass photographic plates and heavy equipment. Eastman's hand-held camera -- the first to use the brand name Kodak -- had enough film on a roll to take 100 exposures. When the film was finished, the camera was sent back to the factory for unloading, developing, and reloading. Now, most cameras are digital and Americans spend $3.2 billion a year buying cameras and equipment, to continue taking pictures of friends, weddings, graduations, and travel.
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