George Eastman. Photo credit: Rochester Historical Society. George Eastman. George Eastman (July 12, 1854 - March 14, 1932) was an inventor, entrepreneur and businessman who founded Eastman Kodak, made motion pictures technically possible, and greatly influenced Rochester.
As a young man he became interested in photography. At the time, photography was a complex endeavor, in addition to the camera, you needed a darkroom tent and a case full of chemicals to coat the glass plates to make the wet plate film. George had heard about people using dry plate film, which would eliminate the need for a trunk full of chemicals, and he began to experiment with his own dry plates. The plates were still glass, and bulky and fragile.
He started a business selling dry plate film, and then started researching flexible film, the photographic chemicals dried on paper. Once he developed this, he was able to make film on a roll, and market easy to use cameras. Long rolls of film were the key piece of technology to make movies.
The company he started, Eastman Kodak, was Rochester's biggest employer for decades. George Eastman became very rich, and gave much of his money away.
In 1932, in severe arthritis pain and having no wife or children, he committed suicide. His suicide note read "My work is done. Why wait".
Wikipedia article on George Eastman