Polaroid was an American company best known for its instant film and cameras. The company was founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land, to exploit the use of its Polaroid polarizing polymer.:3 Land ran the company until 1981. Its peak employment was 21,000 in 1978, and its peak revenue was $3 billion in 1991.
When the original Polaroid Corporation was declared bankrupt in 2001, its brand and assets were sold off. The "new" Polaroid formed as a result, itself declaring bankruptcy in 2008, resulting in a further sale. In May 2017, the brand and intellectual property of Polaroid Corporation were acquired by the largest shareholder of the Impossible Project, which had originally started out in 2008 by producing new instant films for Polaroid cameras. The Impossible Project was renamed Polaroid Originals in September 2017, and in March 2020 was renamed to simply Polaroid.
On April 16, 2009, Polaroid won US Bankruptcy Court approval to be sold to a joint venture of Hilco Consumer Capital LP of Toronto and Gordon Brothers Brands LLC of Boston.
Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Brothers Brands announced the closing of the purchase of Polaroid Corporation on May 7, 2009, placing Polaroid Corporation in joint holding under a parent company named PLR IP Holdings, LLC. Former Executive Vice President and General Manager – Americas, Scott W. Hardy was named as the new President of Polaroid Corporation and PLR IP Holdings, LLC. The majority of employees remained in their positions at the company's Minnetonka, Minnesota headquarters as well as office locations in Boston, New York and Toronto.
On June 19, 2009, the new holding corporation for Polaroid, PLR IP Holdings, LLC announced an exclusive 5-year agreement with Summit Global Group to produce and distribute Polaroid-branded digital still cameras, digital video cameras, digital photo frames and PoGo-branded mobile products. Summit Global Group added several former Polaroid employees to their staff. The company expects the agreement to yield $1.3 billion in retail sales over an unspecified period beginning in 2009.
On January 5, 2010, Polaroid appointed Lady Gaga as "Creative Director" for the company. A press release stated that she would be the "new face" of Polaroid.
In 2017, the holding corporation for Polaroid, PLR IP Holdings, LLC, was acquired by Polish investor Wiaczesław "Slava" Smołokowski. Smołokowski was already the largest shareholder in the Impossible Project—a company formed to continue production of Polaroid-compatible film after Polaroid themselves left the market—having been persuaded to invest in it by his son Oskar. The acquisition brought both companies under the control of the Smołokowski family.
The Impossible Project (already led by Oskar Smołokowski) was rebranded as Polaroid Originals, with the last factory producing Polaroid-compatible instant film cartridges in Enschede, Netherlands being rebranded under the new name later in 2017.
In March 2019, the new polaroid.com website listed instant cameras and supplies made by Polaroid Originals alongside its other products including digital cameras, sunglasses, the Cube action camera, and television units.Enschede, Netherlands being rebranded under the new name later in 2017.
In March 2019, the new polaroid.com website listed instant cameras and supplies made by Polaroid Originals alongside its other products including digital cameras, sunglasses, the Cube action camera, and television units.
March 2020, Polaroid Originals rebranded as Polaroid, with the Polaroid Now being the first instant film camera in years to have the Polaroid branding.
Polaroid had its own brand of diskettes (floppy disks), and also a data recovery service. The New York Times described it as a major brand. Three years after listing Polaroid alphabetically among six major brands, it was listed a notch lower in an almost reverse alphabetical list by The Times, which noted "remember that those companies established their reputations by selling other products, not diskettes."
By mid 1991, they stopped selling floppy disks. The packaging used both the Polaroid and a branding, PerfectData