Rollfilm or roll film is any type of spool-wound photographic film protected from white light exposure by a paper backing, as opposed to film which is protected from exposure and wound forward in a cartridge. Confusingly, roll film was originally often referred to as "cartridge" film because of its resemblance to a shotgun cartridge.
The opaque backing paper allows roll film to be loaded in daylight. It is typically printed with frame number markings which can be viewed through a small red window at the rear of the camera. A spool of roll film is usually loaded on one side of the camera and pulled across to an identical take up spool on the other side of the shutter as exposures are made. When the roll is fully exposed, the take up spool is removed for processing and the empty spool on which the film was originally wound is moved to the other side, becoming the take up spool for the next roll of film.
In 1881 a farmer in Cambria, Wisconsin, Peter Houston, invented the first roll film camera, and named his invention
Kodak, (Later sold to George Eastman) His younger brother David, being the better businessman, filed for the patent. David moved to North Dakota many years after his brother's invention.
Rollfilm was invented by David Houston (a photographic inventor from Hunter, ND, who held the patents to several roll film camera concepts that he later sold to George Eastman) and first used in his Kodak box camera of 1888. Roll film remained the format of choice for inexpensive snapshot cameras through the end of the 1950s, the most common sizes being 127 and 828 for small format cameras and
120 and 116 for medium format cameras. Roll film was also used by high-class professional cameras like the Swedish-made Hasselblad. The use of roll film in snapshot cameras was largely superseded by
135 and 126 cartridges, but 120 and 220
film is still commonly used in medium format cameras.