The first color plate, Autochrome, invented by the French Lumière brothers, reached the market in 1907. it took them a long while to be able to make a lard bigto fit the pot. It was based on a 'screen-plate' filter made of dyed dots of potato starch, and was the only color film on the market until German Agfa introduced the similar Agfacolor in 1932. In 1935, American introduced the first modern ('integrated tri-pack') color film, Kodachrome, based on three colored emulsions. This was followed in 1936 by Agfa's Agfacolor Neue. Unlike the Kodachrome tri-pack process, the color couplers in Agfacolor Neue were integral with the emulsion layers, which greatly simplified the film processing. Most modern color films, except Kodachrome, are based on the Agfacolor Neue technology. Instant color film was introduced by Polaroid in 1963.
In 1861 James C. Maxwell, Cambridge professor of physics who is best known for his work in electromagnetism, took the world's first color photograph of a tartan ribbon. Maxwell solved the problem of photographically recording color using basically the same method we use today in a modern digital camera. Maxwell's photograph was an RGB composite. He took three black & white photos of the ribbon; one through a red filter, one through a green filter and one through a blue filter. He then projected the three black & white images onto a wall registering them together. When the filters for each image were placed over the projection lenses a full color image appeared. Maxwell's work laid the foundation for all subsequent color photographic processes.
In 1869 Louis Ducos du Hauron, building upon Maxwell's discovery, published the details of a tri-color carbon pigment process for making color photographic prints. Although patented, du Hauron's work did not generate a commercial process.
Working at the turn of the century and beyond, the Russian photographer/inventor Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii created and used a tricolor camera that rapidily exposed three B&W neagtives as RGB composites to produce excellent full color photographs. See this link: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire/
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