George Eastman's shiny nose

George Eastman's shiny nose

Among the many scientists and inventors honored along the Infinite Corridor at MIT is Kodak founder and MIT benefactor George Eastman. Is rubbing his nose supposed to bring good luck?


Free tagging: 


George Eastman House

By on

George Eastman House

Preservation of earlier motion pictures, for example the silent futurist film Thais and the other Thais motion pictures would be given a greater priority when a new Librarian of Congress and President of Boston Public Library are appointed. Better to have a Head of the Library expert in acetate/celluloid chemistry, an expert from the RIT Rochester Institute of Technology Graduate Program in Motion Picture Preservation/Chemical Engineering than a so called librarian from a deficient Simmons College library/information studies program with students and faculty that lack creativity, lack technical expertise

Eastman's Nose Is Much Shiner Than It Used To Be

By on

In this picture I took in 2008, only the tip of the nose was shiny. Now, it looks like people are rubbing their hands all over his face and on the pocket handkerchief too.

Whether or not it's a lucky nose, I can't say for sure, but the tradition of rubbing it has obviously become much more popular in recent years.

There was probably a downturn from 2005 to 2008ish

By on

Since building 6 was largely closed off for construction of 6C, so it's possible that fewer students were passing by Eastman in the first place.

I came to MIT in 2006 and couldn't get to 6-120 (where you can find the Eastman plaque) without a bit of rerouting, until they finally reopened it early 2008. I probably would have rubbed his nose for good luck, but after three finals periods without him, I never really got into the habit. Can't imagine I was alone in that. Glad people are back at it, though!

Yes, it's supposed to be good luck.

By on

I've been walking by (and occasionally rubbing) Mr. Eastman and his nose since the early 80s. The amount of tarnish waxes and wanes - likely due to the weather and the time of year (during and after finals he's quite shiny, and gradually gets darker towards the end of the term).

There are other similarly used fetiches around campus. (But of course we techlings just use them ironically, because good scientists and engineers would never deign to believe in superstitions!)

A nose for good luck!

Absolutely! I took many a test in that area, and would usually stop by for a shine.

It has to do with luck on exams, mostly.

Eastman's charity and death

By on

Two pieces of Eastman trivia:

* He paid for MIT's move from Boston to Cambridge. As documented in the article referenced below, other industrial titans failed to come up with the money. When asked, Eastman immediately wrote the check, anonymously. His identity might not have ever been known if it weren't for a required transfer of Kodak stock for a gift later in his life.

He further donated most of his fortune to universities and charities, including to dental dispensaries in Rochester NY so that every child in his city could have dental care.

* Many people don't know George Eastman committed suicide. He suffered from a debilitating and painful spinal condition. On his final day, he invited some friends over to witness a change of his will, then asked them to step out of his office so he could write a note.

He wrote: "To my friends, My work is done. Why wait? GE" and shot himself in the heart.