Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Kodak Moment" At Porirua!

Kodak Moment... A rare, one time, moment that is captured by a picture, or should have been captured by a picture.
"Aww!.. They look soo happy sitting there by the lake! That's definetly a kodak moment!"  - Urban Dictionary

Porirua is a city in the Wellington Region of New Zealand, immediately north of the city of Wellington, with their central business districts 20 km apart.  The name "Porirua" is of Māori origin. It is possibly a variant of "Pari-rua" ("two tides"), a reference to the two arms of the Porirua Harbour.  - Wikipedia


Our third link to this story is Christian Sandström; a young PhD in innovation management from Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.
It was during our getting to know you dinner last week that Chris asked me if I know about the Kodak factory in Porirua!  I don't!!

Chris has been to the vandalised Kodak factory outside Stockholm, Sweden and he has complied his pictures in SlideShare slide shows for you to view and share.

His slides show got me wanting to visit the Porirua site!
Kodak NZ Ltd building in Porirua
 Photographic processing laboratory, Prosser Street, Elsdon, Porirua.
Building and equipment installed valued at £2,000,000 – employed 105 when first constructed and 250 five years later.
Photo from Pataka Museum Collection, at Porirua Library ref A.1d.19.

Last Thursday Chris and I drove to Porirua looking for the Kodak NZ Ltd building. We found it at Prosser Street!

This was the main entrance of the Kodak building, the water tank like structure perching on the roof was giant Kodak film canisters; it has been painted over.

You still can vaguely see the word Kodak hidden at the back of the black paint.

Chris checking out the ex Kodak building at Porirua.
The main tenant of the building is Downtown Self Storage, a locally owned and operated facility that has been offering a private storage solution to customers in the Wellington area since 1995.

Mike Montgomery, Manager of Downtown Self Storage.
Mike, the friendly and helpful manager of Downtown Self Storage show us around the building and the building blue print!  Thanks Mike!

The impressive looking self storage facility inside the ex-Kodak building.
Stairway to the past... the original staircase still stand where Kodak has up to 300 workers in this building.
This side of the building has not change since Kodak left in 1986.
Facades of Kodak past glory in Porirua.

Mike also supplied us the name and address of a ex-Kodak employee who live in Tawa.  On Saturday we went to Bryan Smyth's house and talk to him.

Bryan came to New Zealand when he was 22 and he has been a Manager for Kodak Porirua for 21 years.

I was hoping that I can get some pictures of the Kodak factory from him, he claimed he do not have any!

According to him, Kodak Porirua started operating in 1961 and closed in 1986.

"Kodak Porirua was closed in 1986, way before the digital effect..."

It seems Kodak Porirua's closure was Kodak's "own doing", in the early 80's Kodak help setting up Kodak Express mini labs around New Zealand.

After a while they found the operation was more profitable than running a mammoth factory with 300 workers, that sealed the fate of the Kodak Porirua.

"Kodak was a very family orientated company, a very good employer!"

SHUCKS! And we thought the factory was closed because of the disruptive effect of digital!! Oh well, win some, loose some ;)


Chris drop in to New Zealand Micrographic Services (where I work) for a visit.

Martin Smith explaining to Chris about the Kodak microfilm camera in action.

Martyn Mogford, right; showing Chris the innards of a Kodak microfilm camera while Martin Smith look on.

Chris was impressed with the collection of Kodak microfilming cameras.

Famous Last Words...

Larry Keeley, consultant at tech.fortune.cnn.com, advises how firms must focus on innovating and developing new platforms.

He suggests that the entire focus of the firm must not be on trying to grow in familiar ways.

 Even though Kodak knew about the rise in digital technology, it failed in its existing strategic approach to combat the change.

It tried to use its existing strength in organic chemistry and optics to create some excellent products.

It lost when the new businesses did not generate much revenue. 

Kodak: 130 years of history
10:14AM GMT 19 Jan 2012

1884 - American inventor George Eastman patents photographic film stored in a roll. Four years later he had perfected the first camera to take advantage of his invention.

1892 - The company which would eventually be called Kodak was founded in Rochester, New York. The meaningless name was chosen because it was impossible to mispronounce and was disimilar to any existing words.

1900 - The Brownie camera was launched with a price of $1, bringing photography to the mass market. The basic cardboard box took square images on 2 ¼ film.

1930 - The Eastman Kodak Company launched on the Dow Jones Industrial Average index, where it would remain for 74 years.

1969 - The film used on the Apollo 11 missions was manufactured by Kodak. Each double-perforated 70mm roll could capture 160 colour pictures or 200 black and white images.

1975 - Kodak was the first company to build a working digital camera. An Eastman Kodak engineer named Steven Sasson created the 3.6kg device that stored images on cassette tape, had a 0.01mp resolution and took 23 seconds to expose each image.

1976 - Kodak had a 90pc market share for photographic film and an 85pc share of camera sales in the US.

1994 - Apple launched one of the first consumer digital cameras, the QuickTake. It was actually designed by Kodak and had been released months before Apple's version in Japan under its own brand name. The camera took photos at a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels.

2004 - Kodak stopped selling film cameras in the face of increasingly popular digital alternatives.

2005 - Kodak was the largest seller of digital cameras in the US, with revenue reaching $5.7bn. By 2007 it had fallen to fourth place and by 2010 to seventh.

2009 - Kodak stopped selling 35mm colour film after 74 years of production.

2011 - Over the course of the year Kodak shares fell by more than 80pc as it struggled to maintain market share and was hit with huge pension costs for workers.

2012 - Kodak files for chapter 11 bankruptcy.


Marty said...

Nice post CY.

It was good to meet Christian & show him round NZMS & HMIF.

Martin Smith

heather said...

Good post! I found the Kodak Porirua history very interesting and the tour through the old factory would have been really cool!

Eastman said...

You can see the inner workings of Kodak's Porirua operation in 1964, in this fascinating short film: https://ngataonga.org.nz/collections/catalogue/catalogue-item?record_id=90512

cy.leow said...

Thanks for the info Eastman! Your name would not be GEORGE? ;) Very informative link.