There’s this fascinating, kind of haunting video from 1970 that you can watch on YouTube, in which Edwin Land — chemist, inventor, inspiration to Steve Jobs, and co-founder of Polaroid Corp. — walks through a half-built factory in Norwood where he planned to change the world.

“As far as we have come, we are still a long way from the realization of the concept of a camera that would be — oh, like the telephone — something that you use all day long,” Land says in the video.

There, in that factory, Land would take a giant leap toward that goal with his Polaroid SX–70 Land Camera.

“That is the one that we all know as a Polaroid camera,” said Christopher Bonanos, author of “Instant: The Story of Polaroid.” “The SX–70 was the first one that you point it, you press a button, picture comes out, 2 minutes later you look at it.”

By the time Polaroid released the SX–70, they’d been in the instant photography business for more than two decades, something Land never intended when he launched his company in Cambridge in 1937.

“The process he started had nothing to do with photography, really,” Bonanos said. “Basically, it’s a filter where you can control light. You can block all of it or let most of it through." 

Turns out that’s pretty darn useful. Polaroid’s first product was sunglasses. Land’s big dream was to eliminate headlight glare from every car windshield in America, but it was World War II that would transform Land’s startup into a behemoth.

“Pilot goggles, pilot training gear where you could black out the cockpit of an airplane, bomb sight, gun sights, there were all sort of applications,” Bonanos said.

But as the war began to wind down, Land saw trouble on the horizon for Polaroid.

“This company that had grown from startup size in a garage to 1,200 people was going to lose all its government contracts and he didn’t want to shrink his company back down to pre-war size,” Bonanos said. “He was going to have to fire 1,000 people. So he said, ‘We need a big idea, we need a next thing.’”

The inspiration for that thing came in an unlikely place. On a resort vacation in the Southwest, Land spent the day taking photos with his daughter.

“They sat down by the fire at the end of the day and she said, ‘Daddy, why can’t I see the pictures now?’” Bonanos said. “And he said, ‘Well, why can’t she? How would one do that?’”

Land’s legendary mind immediately went to work.

“He sent his little girl off to be with her mother and started walking around the resort working it out in his head, and they say he sketched out the entire system — roughly — in three hours,” Bonanos said.

Within a few years, Land had honed his vision into a marvel of chemistry and metal, unveiled to the public the day after Thanksgiving, 1948, at the Jordan Marsh department store in downtown Boston.

“They brought 60 cameras and a few cases of film and they said, ‘This will probably get us through to Christmas,’” Bonanos said. “And of course they were gone by closing that day. You know, there were crowds crushing against the counters. It was a sensation.”

True black and white film came soon after, color in 1963. Polaroid sold cameras by the millions. At its height in the late 1970s, Polaroid employed more than 20,000 people, most of them right here in the Bay State.

“The cameras came from Norwood, the negative layer came from New Bedford, most of the other film came from Waltham,” Bonanos said. “All the manufacturing was local.”

But the tide would turn. There was the expensive failure of an instant movie system, the rise of 35 millimeter film and one-hour photo booths, and an epic legal battle over patents with Eastman Kodak Co.

“It did suck up a lot of time and energy and money defending their old work when perhaps they could have been thinking about the next thing,” Bonanos said.

When the next thing did arrive — digital photography — Polaroid failed to embrace it. By this time Land was no longer running the company, though Bonanos says it would not have mattered.

“I can’t say with any sureness. I can guess that he probably would have bet mostly on analog instead of digital and got it wrong,” he said.

On October 12, 2001, the company filed for bankruptcy. In 2007 they stopped making cameras. Two year later, they ceased production of film, shuttering the last of their factories, including that one in Norwood where Edwin Land changed the world.

A few years ago, a startup in the Netherlands called the Impossible Project began once again producing film for old Polaroid cameras, with the help of some former Polaroid employees. Their biggest customers according to CTO Stephen Herchen? Millennials.