Science: Photomatic

Thirteen years ago a 29-year-old Cleveland dentist named Joseph E. Klein found himself in Manhattan, idling along Broadway. It was a balmy summer evening. Klein caught sight of a line of people a block long, inching patiently toward an unknown destination.

"What's this all about?" he inquired of the last man in line. The man replied that the people were waiting their turns at a machine which took photographs in the privacy of a cabinet, delivered the finished print with astounding promptness.

Klein joined the queue, inched along for one hour and 20 minutes. Then...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!