The Man Who Invented the Digital Camera in 1975 and Why His Bosses at Kodak Would Never Let it See the Light of Day

If your employee came to you in 1975 and told you he had invented the digital camera, what would you do? If you were Kodak, the answer would be to effectively shove him in a closet and hope the product never reached the mass market. Steven Sasson went to work for Kodak in 1973 and was tasked with figuring out whether a charged coupled device had any practical application. This led him to not only invent the first digital camera, but also to invent a device to display it on. Sasson showed these devices to his bosses at Kodak in 1975, but they were unimpressed. In fact, they were convinced that no one would ever want to see their photos on a television set. In 1989, Sasson and Robert Hills made the first DSLR camera that used memory cards and compressed the image. However, Kodak’s marketing department resisted it because they feared it would cannibalize film sales. At the time, Kodak made money off every step of the photography business, and they weren’t about to give that up. That camera never saw the light of day. By the time Kodak embraced the idea of a digital camera, it was too late. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2012.