Godowsky, Leopold Jr

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b. 27 May 1900 Chicago, Illinois, USA d. 1983
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American musician and photographic experimenter whose researches, with those of his colleague Mannes, led to the introduction of the first commercial tripack colour film, Kodachrome.
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Both from distinguished musical families, Godowsky and Leopold Damrosch Mannes met at Riverdale School in New York in 1916, and shared an interest in photography. They began experiments in methods of additive colour photography, gaining a patent for a three-colour projector. Godowsky went to the University of California to study chemistry, physics and mathematics, while working as a professional violinist; Mannes, a pianist, went to Harvard to study music and physics. They kept in touch, and after graduating they joined up in New York, working as musicians and experimenting in colour photography in their spare time.
Initially working in kitchens and bathrooms, they succeeded in creating a two-layer colour photographic plate, with emulsions separately sensitized to parts of the spectrum, and patented the process. This achievement was all the greater since they were unable to make the emulsions themselves and had to resort to buying commercial photographic plates so that they could scrape off the emulsions, remelt them and coat their experimental materials. In 1922 their work came to the attention of C.E.K. Mees, the leading photographic scientist and Director of the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratory in Rochester, New York. Mees arranged for plates to be coated to their specifications. With a grant from Kuhn, Loeb \& Co. they were able to rent laboratory space. Learning of Rudolf Fischer's early work on dye couplers, they worked to develop a new process incorporating them. Mees saw that their work, however promising, would not develop in an amateur laboratory, and in 1930 he invited them to join the Kodak Research Laboratory, where they arrived on 15 June 1931. Their new colleagues worked on ways of coating multi-layer film, while Mannes and Godowsky worked out a method of separately processing the individual layers in the exposed film. The result was Kodachrome film, the first of the modern integral tripack films, launched on 15 April 1935.
They remained with Eastman Kodak until December 1939; their work contributed to the later appearance of Ektachrome colour-reversal film and the Kodacolor and Eastman Color negative-positive colour processes. Mannes became the Director of his father's Music Academy in New York, remaining as such until his death in 1964. Godowsky returned to Westport, Connecticut, and continued to study mathematics at Columbia University. He carried out photographic research un his private laboratory up until the time of his death in 1983.
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Further Reading
C.E.K.Mees, 1961, From Dry Plates to Ektachrome Film, New York.
BC

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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