Leopold Godowsky, Jr.

Leopold Godowsky, Jr. (May 27 1900 - February 18 1983) was an American violinist and chemist, who together with Leopold Mannes created the first practical color transparency film, Kodachrome.

Mannes and Godowsky's experimentation with color photography began in 1917, after seeing the film [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0160618/ Our Navy] in Prizma Color, which was advertised as a color film. Because of the low quality the boys felt cheated and decided to do something about it. They built a movie camera and projector each with three lenses covered by red, blue, and yellow filters. They took multiple black-and-white exposures and projected them back through the filters. They patented this system while still in high school, but it was not a commercially viable process.

Godowsky studied violin at UCLA and became a soloist and first violinist with the Los Angeles and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestras. He also enrolled at UCLA to study physics and chemistry. He performed jointly with his father, Leopold Godowsky, one of the great pianists of the early twentieth century. Godowsky Jr married Frances Gershwin, sister of George and Ira Gershwin, who became a recognized painter and sculptor. Their son, Leopold Godowsky III, is also a concert pianist. By 1922, Godowsky had given up his orchestral jobs in California and moved back to New York City where he and Mannes worked as musicians. They experimented with color photography during their spare time.

While on his way to perform in Europe in late 1922, Mannes made the chance acquaintance of a senior partner in the investment firm of Kuhn, Loeb and Co. and described their progress with color photography. Some months later the firm sent one of their junior associates, Lewis L. Strauss to the Mannes apartment to view the color process. The final results were impressive enough for Kuhn Loeb to invest in the process.

With financial backing, Godowsky and Mannes built a dedicated laboratory and in 1924 took out additional patents on their work. In 1930 Eastman Kodak was so impressed with the results that they contracted them to move to Rochester and take advantage of Kodak's research facilities.

By 1933, Godowsky and Mannes and the Kodak research staff had developed a marketable three-color emulsion process for color home movies. Kodachrome film consisted of three layers of standard black and white film silver halides suspended in filter material, making each layer sensitive to a different color (red, green and blue). Color dyes replaced the developed silver salts after reexposure to light during processing. The completed chromogenic film consisted solely of synthesized dyes suspended in gelatin.

Kodachrome 16mm movie film was released for sale in 1935, and in 1936 Kodachrome 35mm still and 8mm movie film were released.

Godowsky and Mannes were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Photographic Resource Center at Boston University has a biennial award for Color Photography named in honor of Leopold Godowsky Jr.

Patents

*US patent|1997493 "Color Photography" filed January 1922, issued April 1935
*US patent|2304940 "Color Photography" filed January 1940, issued December 1942

External links

* [http://www.bu.edu/prc/godowsky.htm Leopold Godowsky, Jr. Color Photography Awards]


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