Friday, March 22, 2013

Edison May Have First Made Pictures Move—French Brothers Did it Better.

It is an article of faith for most Americans that our home grown genius Thomas Alva Edison invented the motion picture.  And it is true as far is it goes.  Edison displayed his Kinetoscope using images photographed by his Kinetograph in 1892 and was soon producing short subjects to view on individual machines in Kinetoscope Parlors.
But modern projection motion pictures were first shown on March 22, 1895 in Paris by brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière.
The innovative brothers operated a photographic studio and photographic equipment business inherited from their father.  They had already pioneered dry emulsion plates.  Building on work by earlier tinkerers including Eadweard Muybridge, Etienne-Jules Marey, and Ottomar Aanshütz they developed celluloid strip film advanced through the camera and then the projector by perforations on the side of the film strip which engaged in cog wheels.  
They called their device the Cinématorgraphe.  It could record, develop and project film.  They received a patent on it in February 1895. 
On March 19 they shot their first footage, a few moments of workers leaving their factory.  Three days later they showed the 50 second film to a small audience in Lyon.  In December they showed 10 equally short films to a paying audience at the Grand Café in Paris.  The next year they took the show on the road to Bombay, London, New York, and Buenos Aires. 
Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for Edison, the brothers soon lost interest in the motion picture project and failed to license their equipment to early filmmakers.  Edison and others incorporated elements of the Lumière process in their own improved devises.  The rest is history. 
The bothers continued innovating.  They pioneered the first commercially successful color photographic process, Autochrome and their company remained a major supplier of photographic equipment through most of the 20th Century.

No comments:

Post a Comment