Far away view of roll coating wheel.
Urban Life

Giant Kodak Film Coating Wheel

Many years ago Eastman Kodak Company was the largest employer in the Rochester, New York region. Each day thousands of workers would fill the multiple massive buildings that once lined West Ridge Road. This created a wealthy economy living in mansions on East Avenue. Numerous companies such as retail and auto dealerships thrived. Kodak employees had money to spend, and it showed.


Rochester, New York had a lot of wealthy people living within the region with unemployment in the single digits.


How Kodak Changed The Rochester Region Dramatically

For those that grew up and lived in Rochester, New York, you know the story of how all this changed. As Kodak started to lay off employees, it gradually shrunk over the years. What followed was completely devastating. Kodak started to send production overseas and before you knew it, buildings started to fall faster than dominoes.


Now all you see on West Ridge Road is a bunch of space. Where great buildings use to stand, you now see what resembles a ghost town.


This Giant Kodak Film Coating Wheel Is A Reminder

Roll coating wheel sign plaque.
Roll coating wheel sign plaque.


You can still see reminders of what once was there such as a plaque with an 18 foot film coating wheel next to it. Weighing at 25,000 lbs, it’s a massive sight that you cannot miss when driving past.


Edge of roll coating wheel.
Edge of roll coating wheel.


For the longest time I wanted to stop and see what this humongous object was. Every time I drove past it, I imagined it being a huge wheel that was used to generate power. Instead, it ended up being a huge film coating wheel.


Bottom view of roll coating wheel.
Bottom view of roll coating wheel.


Don’t ask me how it coated film but I assume it had a coating that was pressed onto film. Then again, I’m no expert on film production.

We Were Both Mesmerized By the Giant Film Coating wheel

During the act of taking pictures of this wheel, my dad even got involved. He was helping to find interesting angles by making suggestions. At first he acted like he wasn’t interested in taking pictures, but after he got going was very excited.


Side of roll coating wheel.
Side of roll coating wheel.


Overall, I can only imagine how awesome it was to see this giant film coating wheel in action. If anybody knows more about how it worked, or even used it, feel free to let us know.


Let’s Do A Little Recap Here

  • Kodak was vital to the Rochester, New York region.
  • Employed thousands of workers.
  • Made the Rochester, New York economy strong.
  • Had humongous building lining West Ridge road.
  • Employees were very wealthy.
  • Local companies thrived because of Kodak.

Check Out These Other Great Posts Before You Leave

Do You Have Any Kodak Stories Of Your Own? Let Me Know….


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