Polaroid Model 95

Carroll Gantz
Walter Dorwin Teague Associates
Polaroid Model 95

The Polaroid "Land Camera", the first to develop its own prints in minutes, went on sale at Jordan Marsh in Boston for $89.95 and was an instant sensation. It was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague Associates, and produced by the Polaroid Land Company. The camera's inventor was Edwin H. Land (1909-1991), who got the idea while on vacation at the Grand Canyon in 1943. His daughter asked to see the picture he had just taken. Land perfected his system from a 1928 invention by Agfa in Germany which had never been commercialized. In 1929, Land had developed a process of polarizing plastic sheets to prevent glare, and in 1934, named the product Polaroid. He tried with no success to interest automakers in using his product in windshields, but finally sold the rights to the Americal Optical Company for sunglasses. By 1945, sales had reached $17 million, and Land was very well rewarded. Land's Polaroid Company in 1939 marketed an executive desk lamp, designed by Frank Del Guidice (1917-1993) of Teague's office. The design was very successful, and convinced Land of the value of not only industrial design, but of Teague's office in particular. Teague also designed the improved Polaroid Electric Eye 900 camera for Land in 1960. It sold for $159.95. In 1963, the first "instant" color film, developed by Elkan R. Blount and Howard G. Rogers of Polaroid, came onto the market, along with a new Automatic 100 to use it, designed by Henry Dreyfuss Associates. It was the first to allow development of one picture while shooting the next. In 1965, HDA designed Model 20, the Swinger, for teenagers. This was followed in 1973 by the Polaroid SX-70 camera, the first with SLR, designed by James M. Conner of Henry Dreyfuss Associates (HDA) and Edwin Land. It was to be the last product worked on By Henry Dreyfuss (1904-1972) before his untimely death. HDA also designed the Polaroid Pronto camera, introduced in 1976. The most recent Polaroid, the Vision Date +, was designed by John H. Betts and James Ryan of HDA, and Roger Clapp, Roy Baessler and Peter Carcia of Polaroid. The design won an IDEA award in 1994.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
Copyright Information: 
I own or have obtained the rights to the image(s) included with this article and grant industrialdesignhistory.com the right to post it(them) on its website and make use of it(them) in print media with proper attribution.