Archive for December 2012

Almost like Magic: Bill Jeffcoat on the Polaroid Camera

Bill Jeffcoat

Bill Jeffcoat

“In 1948, Edwin Land brought out his ‘picture in a minute’ camera for sale to the public.  Anybody in their right mind does not test market a new item in Kansas, and the east coast was swamped with orders and sales.  I became fascinated with this concept of photography.  Priced fairly high, the camera was a huge bulky affair, but Americans were willing to pay.  I asked Polaroid what would be their bare bones, cash up front order for a shipment.  They replied, three cameras and 36 films.  When the box arrived, I was like a kid with a new computer game.  I hardly had patience to read the manual; I wasted three rolls of film before I could even get an image to appear!  It was hard for customers to get the hang of it as there were two drop ins and inter-leafing  and when they did this at home and goofed up, they wanted their money back or a new film.”

Note: Bill’s next sentences that close this letter are particularly interesting, considering the developments of digital cameras since his lifetime.  Bill writes:

“Funny that today, people seem to be not so excited about a photo in a minute.  They just go to the one hour lab and wait an hour.  It has been Japan who has turned the photo industry all around.”  -Bill Jeffcoat

The times have certainly changed.

On Calves and Life

CattleA Letter to the Editor of the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle by Bill Jeffcoat:

I simply must report this, and I highly recommend a similar experience for a town person.  Why?  Here I am, born and raised in a farming place, not really knowing much about it; over 60 years old and it just did not interest me.

So, what is it I am talking about?  With the kindness of my friends, Dr. Laws and his assistant, I wanted to watch the birth of a calf.  When I went, I didn’t know we would run into a C-Section.  Dr. Laws asked, “Do you think you can stand it?”  I said I would try. Mercy, what a thing to behold; the patience of the humans and the mother, the sewing up, the gallons of disinfectant, getting the baby to start breathing, just the whole thing.

It was to me, simply amazing and the reason I am writing this is, for me, it brought to mind the whole balance of nature, that balance between animal and man, each helping the other through a time of difficulty, to keep the cycle of life going. As I dried the baby off with a sheet, I wondered to myself, will I ever be able to eat beef again?  Well, I can, and oddly enough, the helping crew of humans wanted to name the calf after me!  A final thought, this world of ours is very intertwined with the help of all of us; let us all just keep on doing what we can to help.  -Bill Jeffcoat