Dec. 20--Polaroid Corp., a company founded more than seven decades ago by a native son of Norwich, declared bankruptcy Friday as the leader of its parent company fights allegations of fraud.
This is the second time Polaroid, founded by Harvard dropout and Norwich Free Academy graduate Edwin H. Land, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
Polaroid, which specialized in instant photography until recently, has fallen on hard times in the digital age. It discontinued manufacturing its celebrated instant camera in February, deciding to concentrate on LCD televisions, digital cameras and other products.
Although Polaroid says the film should be available into 2009, this is the final month of its last production year.
"We expect to continue our operations as normal during the reorganization and are planning for new product launches in 2009," said company chief executive Mary Jeffries in a statement.
Polaroid said that the founder of its holding company is under investigation for fraud. It added that the investigation has undermined Polaroid's financial condition. In October, Tom Petters was charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
Polaroid said its leadership team is not part of the investigation
Other Petters companies have also gone into bankruptcy, including the Petters Group Worldwide of Minnetonka, Minn., Polaroid's holding company.
Polaroid, a company so well respected it became one of the "Nifty Fifty" stocks of the 1960s and 1970s, dates back to 1937. But it wasn't until 1948, five years after Land got the idea for instant photography from his 3-year-old daughter's impatience with waiting to see a picture, that the iconic Polaroid Land camera was born. Millions of Land's instant cameras were sold, and he became a millionaire. Land resigned as chairman of the company in 1980 after the failure of the Polavision instant movie camera.
Land had been a brilliant physics student at NFA, but left Harvard in 1927 to research the concept of reflective light. Land, credited with an estimated 500 patents for his inventions, went on to receive honorary degrees from Harvard and 20 other universities before he died in 1991 at the age of 81.