Salvatore Di Schino ’36 (mechanical engineering) pulls out the first picture of Earth ever taken from deep space from among the items in his scrapbook preserving his memories of 41 years at Eastman Kodak Co.
A Kodak camera on NASA’s Lunar Orbiter 1 took that landmark photo on Aug. 23, 1966—232,000 miles from Earth. Lunar Orbiter 1 was one of five designed to map the moon’s surface, preparing the way for the first astronauts to land there in 1969. Di Schino was assigned to the team that made the onboard camera system in the unmanned orbiters.
“I would say working with spacecraft was the highlight of my career,” says Di Schino, 96.
That career emerged from a co-op when Di Schino was a student at the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute, which later became RIT.
The Rochester native started at the institute in 1933 and joined Kodak, one of the few companies hiring during the Great Depression, two years later. He went right into full-time work after graduation.
During World War II, he worked on devices that measured altitude and distance of an aircraft. He remembers testing the equipment on the roof of the Kodak Hawkeye Plant on St. Paul Street in Rochester while planes flew overhead.
Di Schino also helped produce the Pocket Instamatic camera, and prior to his retirement in 1976, he worked in the division that made Kodak’s first printers.
Retirement wasn’t the end of Di Schino’s time in the workforce. He and his wife of 71 years, Dora, were hired as office assistants at their son-in-law’s company, DeCarolis Truck Rental in Rochester. He continues to work six hours a week there.
When he’s not working, he enjoys time with his wife, three children and their spouses, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He also adds to his hat collection, which numbers 3,484 and counting and is prominently displayed in his garage.
RIT hats are in the middle of the college section, which hangs across from the Kodak area.
“The co-op program gave me a good living, a good job,” Di Schino says. “I met good people.”