Walter A. Fallon and Eastman Kodak Company

Walter Fallon Eastman Kodak
Here comes another exciting passport history story, thanks to a US reader who contacted me on these documents asking for advice. Chris owns four US passports from Walter A. Fallon, the chief executive of the Eastman Kodak Company, from 1972 to 1983. One passport is from his wife, Shirley. The travel documents were issued between 1964 and 1977. Only the wife’s document has a small corner cut (to make the passport obsolete). Walter Fallon Eastman Kodak

Two passports Walter A Fallon and wife

During Walter’s tenure, Kodak introduced Ektaprint office copiers; Ektachem blood analyzers; and disk cameras. It sold tens of millions of disk cameras before it lost ground to 35-millimeter models in the 1980s.

Kodak’s sales increased to $10.8 billion in 1982 from $3.48 billion at the end of 1972, and its workforce rose to 136,500 from 114,800 during the same period. Months before his departure in 1983, Kodak’s hometown payroll peaked at 60,400 employees. Today, it has fallen to 4,500. Walter Fallon Eastman Kodak

Under Mr. Fallon, Kodak was also sued by the Polaroid Corporation, which asserted that its patents for instant photography had been infringed. Polaroid eventually won. Kodak paid it $925 million in 1991.


Two passports Walter A. Fallon Kodak

Mr. Fallon was a native of Schenectady, N.Y. A chemist, he joined Kodak in 1941. He became chief executive and president in May 1972. He became chairman in 1977 and retained all three posts until his retirement in July 1983.

Walter died in 2002 at his home in Irondequoit, a suburb of Rochester. He was 84.

“I deeply mourn the passing of a great leader,” Kodak’s CEO in 2002, Dan Carp, said. “Walt built much of the foundation for the success of Kodak. He had a vision of the world as a single marketplace.” Walter Fallon Eastman Kodak

Travel documents of such stern industry leaders are hard to find as usually they stay with the family or end up in auctions or even in a trash bin. For passport collectors, they might be treasures, especially if you are related to Kodak or coming from the Rochester, NY area. Walter Fallon Eastman Kodak

Do you remember the KODAK Disc Cameras? Take a look at Doug Stinson’s camera collection…



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FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...