Kodak started with the idea of one man: George Eastman.
He found a way to make taking pictures easier.
But what would Eastman think of Kodak's troubles today?
"The thing that fascinated me was how multi-faceted he was," said Elizabeth Brayer, George Eastman's biographer.
Elizabeth Brayer, or Betsy, spent five years in an archive room at Kodak's headquarters filing through thousands of pages of George Eastman's letters.
"When I first started working on this in 1979, Kodak was at its height," said Brayer.
That work would later turn into a 700 page biography of the Kodak founder.
Even then, change was happening.
"I remember people talking when I would go in there three times a week about film being at its end," said Brayer.
But from the outside, no one really knew that one day digital would surpass film.
Brayer says film was the company's "cash cow."
"Film is like razorblades you sell tons of razorblades, but only one razor," said Brayer.
Brayer describes Eastman as a Renaissance man.
"Sort of the Bill Gates of his time," said Brayer.
She says he made an investment in his company and in building Rochester up.
But would he have done things differently?
"It's easy in retrospect to say you would have done it differently. He was very much in favor of new technology. On the other hand, he thought his greatest philanthropy was that he provided so many jobs for so many people, so he would have been upset I think at the loss of jobs," said Brayer.
Brayer says when Eastman saw the advent of television, he worried it could be the end of film.
But didn't know how long that would be.
"He was always trying to be ahead of the other companies, but he knew the technology would change," said Brayer.
Can we learn anything from Eastman's past that would have changed the Kodak that has developed today?
But Brayer says Rochester is a better place for what Eastman created.
The next part of history still needs to be written.
"I would like to see Kodak remain a part of the community, whether it can or not, I don't know," said Brayer.
You can also read Betsy's latest essay on Kodak and its financial troubles attached here.