Part of Kodak's efforts in product development was related to ergonomics, as evidenced by the design discussion in the Ektra prospectus. Kodak clearly understood that to claim the lead in the professional and advanced amateur market, their optics must be well designed and consistently produced. They also invested in aesthetic design that created a style that was novel then and has weathered extremely well. Faithful to their long established entry level market, improvements in optics, stylistic and functional design and the innovative use of new materials found their way to the least expensive Kodaks--the Baby Brownie, the first plastic-bodied Kodak, sold in 1934 for $1. Three men made major contributions to these trend-setting Kodak cameras in the 1930s and early 1940s--Rudolf Kingslake, Joseph Mihalyi, and Walter Dorwin Teague. The success of their collaboration is reflected in the appearance, performance and functionality of products that have continued to satisfy buyers and users for many decades.



Rudolf Kingslake (1903-2003 ) moved from his native England, in 1929, with his new wife Hilda Conrady Kingslake, also an optical engineer, to a new academic post at the University of Rochester. In 1937, he was hired as a lens designer by Eastman Kodak and by 1939 headed their lens design department. In the 1950s, he became Director of Optical Design. He was part of the design team that produced the Golden Age Kodaks, contributing lenses that had dramatically reduced aberration. He and Hilda have published many books jointly and separately. He continued teaching at the University of Rochester and has been honored by the Optical Society of America with its highest award, the Frederic Ives Medal, and the Society of Photo-Optical Engineers with an annually awarded medal bearing his name. Hilda and Rudolf are nearing 100 as of this writing (2002).



  Hilda Conrady Kingslake died on February 14, 2003. Rudolf lived for
  only 11 more days, passing on February 25, 2003. OSA obituaries:
Hilda    Rudolf

      Lens designers in Kodak Optics    

  Joseph Mihalyi came to the U. S. from Hungary in 1907 and, after working in the optical instrument industry was hired by Kodak in 1923 as an apparatus designer. Mihalyi's inventive mind contributed ergonomic design ideas for the Kodak Bantam Special, Super 620, Ektra, and Medalist. His interest in rangefinders included the designs of two free-standing models for Kodak, the excellent rangefinders in the Ektra, Super 620, Bantam Special and Medalist, and a rangefinder used in WW II anti-aircraft sighting systems. He was responsible for the 828 film format, an improved use of 35mm film stock. The Chicago Photographic Collectors Society has more information on Mihalyi.

[Photo not available]


      Some Joe Mihalyi inventions...    

    Walter Dorwin Teague (1883-1960) was a noted industrial designer in first half of the 20th cy. He came to New York in 1903 to study design and became interested in printing and advertising. In 1926, he formed a design firm and a year later landed a contract with Kodak which produced the Art Deco gift camera (1928), Baby Brownie (1934), Bantam Special (1936), Kodak Super 620 (1938), Medalist (1941) and Brownie Hawkeye (1950). Teague designs revolutionized Kodak products and their influence echoed for two decades. He designed the first Polaroid camera for Edwin Land. Teague was on the design board of the 1939 World's Fair. In 1940 Teague published a book, Design this Day; a Technique of Order in the Machine Age. The Teague design firm celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2006.  

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