Saturday, September 20, 2014

Eastman House

Cindy and I went to Rochester and visited the George Eastman house. George Eastman is the man behind the Eastman Kodak company. Quite a story it is too, rags to riches.

Before we toured the house, there was an interesting exhibit on early photography.

 The home is 3 stories, 50 rooms. We were able to tour the first and second floors. His father died when he was 7. He quit school at 12 to help support his mom and sister. He started making metal puzzles for kids. Had a few other jobs as he grew. He planned a vacation and someone suggested he take photographs. He learned how, and became fascinated. It was very time consuming and expensive to do though. So he committed to invent an easy way for everyone to be able to take pictures.
 The dining room. He was also quite a philanthropist. He gave a total of 30 million dollars to 4 different colleges at this table. He was also a great employer, making sure that his employees had health insurance and benefits. He also did all he could to keep his company and employees in Rochester to help the town.
 This was the atrium in the center of the house. He used it for product launches, concerts and parties. A few years after the house was built, he decided the room was too small. The house was cut in half top to bottom and moved 9 feet over to make more room. They lived in the house while this was going on.
 This is a big pipe organ used for concerts. the pipes are hidden.
 The billiards room had a men's club feel to it. He thought of  lot of small touches, like putting the couch on a raised platform to be able to watch the action. The platform opened to store pool cues and supplies.
 These raccoon pelts are from an area he took over for a factory. The area had a lot of tenant farmers on it. Instead of just kicking them off, he trained them in various trades and helped integrate them into the company.
 He was a big game hunter and there were various trophies in evidence. Although he was in love a couple of times, George Eastman never married.
 This blanket chest was a gift from the Russian Government in thanks for opening a factory there.

 The grand staircase.
 The parlor
 His desk.
 A portrait of the man himself. He committed suicide at 73. He had his affairs in order and didn't want to be a burden.
 His mother lived with him. This was her dressing table. She only lived in the big house a couple of years before she passed away. She was an invalid the last few years.
 Her hat boxes.
 Cindy and I both got to sit with the man himself before we were done.

 He had ingenious marketing plans. He marketed the brownie camera to children, using  a familiar figure from children's stories. So they would be used to using the cameras. The cameras were inexpensive. He made money on the sale and development of film.

 The gardens.

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