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Eastman Kodak’s major product announcements on May 29, 1985, remind us yet again of how far we’ve come in less than 40 years. The New York Times, The Washington Post and Associated Press all covered Kodak’s news about KEEPS (short for “Kodak Ektaprint Electronic Publishing System”) and KIMS (the “Kodak Image Management System”).

KEEPS promised “near-offset quality brochures” and was meant to serve as the publishing arm for major companies and governmental agencies. With one machine and a mouse, a user could compose text, create graphics, preview layout and print a finished document. Gone were the days of physical cut-and-paste publishing operations. The machine retailed for $50,000, or approximately $141,000 in today’s dollars.

More costly was KIMS, which Kodak introduced at $450,000, or nearly $1.3 million adjusted for inflation. Its targeted users, however, likely would have found KIMS worth every penny. KIMS was a microfilm retriever. From an office upstairs, a user could specify a specific microfilm cartridge stored below in a basement. A robotic arm would fetch the microfilm and insert it into a scanner. The resulting electronic image was then delivered to the requestor’s workstation. Government agencies, insurance companies, banks and medical companies were the targeted markets.

The one prediction in these 1985 news articles that does not ring true is from The Washington Post’s coverage. Kodak’s marketing manager told the Post that while Kodak believed optical disks would become increasingly important in data storage, the company did not believe magnetic disks and microfilm would be eliminated.

Did you enjoy this installation of SmarterMSP’s Tech Time Warp? Check out others here.

Photo: Lenscap Photography / Shutterstock

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Kate Johanns

Posted by Kate Johanns

Kate Johanns is a communications professional and freelance writer with more than 13 years of experience in publishing and marketing.

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