On November 26, 1948, Edwin Land debuted his first "Land Camera," dubbed the Model 95A. This was the first "Polaroid camera," as we'd popularly know it—though camera nerds like me still talk about Land Cameras. Anyway, the 95A went on sale at the Jordan Marsh department store in Boston for $89.75. (That would be just over $900 in today's money.)
Land had been inspired to create an instant-results photography system by his daughter, who asked him why she couldn't see the picture he had just taken of her. In those days, you had to develop the film using many steps (and plenty of chemicals), print it, and then your kid got to see the picture. It took Land and his team years to develop the instant self-developing film and cameras to go with it, but the system became a huge hit.
My favorite video about Polaroid cameras is this 10-minute documentary-slash-ad by Charles and Ray Eames. It focuses on the SX-70 model, introduced in 1972. Enjoy:
For more on the history of Polaroid and Edwin Land, check out this Boston.com slideshow. Polaroid did a lot of cool stuff before making cameras! Also interesting is this timeline (PDF link) of Polaroid inventions.
(Image courtesy of Jarek Tuszyński, used under CC-BY-SA-4.0 license.)