Eastman history

When World War I made it hard to get raw materials, Eastman Kodak founder George Eastman wanted an independent supply of chemicals for his photographic processes. After the war, he turned his attention to the forests of the southern U.S. In 1920, Tennessee Eastman was born in Kingsport. In the coming decades, the company created to deliver a handful of chemicals quickly became a creative force in the materials industry.

Employees working in a warehouse

A history of innovation

In 1994, Eastman Chemical Company spun off from Eastman Kodak to become an independent corporation. Today, we’re a global specialty materials company. Our many products include innovative films for electric vehicles, resins that make high-performance medical devices more durable, and recycled Eastman Renew materials for sustainable water bottles and cosmetic cases. And those materials still bear the name of the man who started it all: George Eastman.

The Old Hand

The Old Hand in front of Eastman’s global headquarters in Kingsport commemorates our 2020 centennial. It depicts a hand manipulating a methanol molecule and represents the many hands that have guided us and the many hands that will lead us through the next century and beyond.

Eastman built The Old Hand, a centennial sculpture
George Eastman made photography accessible to the public

Eastman timeline

Driven by more than 100 years of constant innovation, Eastman has transformed from a division of Eastman Kodak into an independent specialty materials company committed to developing groundbreaking solutions that preserve resources and make materials that improve lives around the world.

Learn about our history