CHAPTER 2 / Part 1


Table of Contents

Table of Contents




Following the successful premiere of the vitascope in April 1896, Raff and Gammon’s Vitascope Company, as sales agent for the Edison Manufacturing Company, set about the task of marketing the new product. “When the machine is started by the operator,” claimed the firm’s prospectus,

the bare canvas before the audience instantly becomes a stage, upon which living beings move about and go through their respective acts, movements, gestures, and changing expressions, surrounded by appropriate settings and accessories—the very counterpart of the stage, the field, the city, the country—yes, more, for the reproductions are in some respects more satisfactory, pleasing, and interesting than the originals. [1]

Vitascope Ad

                  Vitascope Flyer, 1896

For promoters—exhibitors as well as the Vitascope Company and other agents—the watchword was realism, and because they expected audiences to value most highly the correspondence of images on the screen to their counterparts in the real world, Vitascope stressed the claim that the new device satisfied spectators’ desire to see lifelike, life-size images of people and things in motion. Edison technicians shot most of the Vitascope subjects on the roof of the company’s New York office, but they had also designed a portable camera suitable for filming in and around the city (see Figure 2.1). Scenes of American urban life were among the first popular subjects, and although there were delays in producing the first commercial machines, vitascope programs were soon being presented in vaudeville theaters, storefronts, summer parks, and similar venues all around the country.

The Standardization of Stock and Gauge
  Edison’s first Vitascope films were printed on the same semitranslucent filmstrips used in the peephole kinetoscope. Because its surface was frosted, such film stock—unexposed film—softened the strong light required by the peephole apparatus, but when Thomas Armat recommended a clear-base stock for the projecting machine, Edison turned to the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company of Rochester, New York.


                     George Eastman

In the 1880s, George Eastman (1854-1932), an amateur photographer who’d been inventing and selling photographic equipment and processes since 1877, had arranged photographic emulsion on a long flexible strip that could be installed by any user of his popular box camera, the Kodak. In 1889, he patented the first flexible, transparent, celluloid-based photographic stock. The new stock came to the attention of W.K.L. Dickson at about the same time that he was adapting the flexible-strip approach to the Edison motion-picture project, and when Eastman’s flexible material—film—proved resistant to tearing in his moving-picture machinery, Dickson adopted it for use in the vertical-feed kinetoscope. In 1896, Edison began purchasing Eastman’s clear-base stock to produce Vitascope movies, and Eastman (now Eastman Kodak) has since that time not only supplied raw film stock to the American motion-picture industry but also played a key role in determining the technology and language used by many of its customers.[2]

The Eastman film stock used by Dickson measured 1 3/8 inches in width—a width, or gauge, which, at 34.8 millimeters (mm), became the basis for the 35mm–gauge stock that Dickson ultimately adopted for the Edison kinetoscope. Edison stayed with 35mm for the vitascope, whose success also popularized the format of its film stock, and when competitors set about imitating the vitascope, they naturally built machines designed for 35mm film. What soon became known as “Edison-gauge” film emerged as an industry standard that exists to this day. Also standard is the size and shape of the 35mm frame devised by the Edison Company—1 inch wide and 3/4 inch high (Figure 2.2).[3]

A Proliferation of ’Scopes and ’Graphs
  By mid-1896, the demand of exhibitors for projectors and films had increased dramatically and soon exceeded Vitascope’s capacity to meet it.[4] The popularity of projected motion pictures continued to grow through 1897, and Charles Musser reports that the market was soon flooded by projectors marketed under such names as phantoscope, imatoscope, vidiscope, zooscope, magniscope, cinegraphoscope, animotoscope, kalatechnoscope, cineograph, motograph, kinematographe, centograph, and panoramagraphe (see Figure 2.3 [5]). In cities, theater managers and storefront operators presented moving-picture shows in theaters and amusement centers; in other areas of the country, especially in the Midwest, touring companies and traveling exhibitors gave shows at circuses and carnivals.

Ironically, as new projection machines began to appear, the rights to its film subjects became Edison’s most valuable commercial assets. Unfortunately, however, the company found it nearly impossible to control the distribution of the films it produced. Few of the entrepreneurs who’d managed to build projectors were interested in producing their own films, but because most new machines copied the vitascope’s 35mm format, the duping of existing films—printing a duplicate negative from a positive print—was an attractive alternative. Moreover, all of the 35mm films that Edison had made for his kinetoscope were still in circulation and worked just as well in projection machines, no matter who manufactured them. Even exhibitors under contract to Vitascope traded and resold films rather than buy the expensive new subjects that Edison was retailing for 30 cents a foot.

The Demise of Vitascope
  Even so, in both the 1896-97 and 1897-98 business years, the Edison Company made much more money from film sales than from projector sales and rentals.[6] Understandably, Edison wanted to take advantage of the rapidly growing demand for projectors, but the Vitascope Company was collapsing under the competitive pressure. The reason, in Edison’s opinion and in that of future historians, was its reliance on a so-called “states rights” distribution system. Vitascope sold exclusive exhibition rights for specific territories. Buyers, or “agents,” purchased the right to lease projectors and Edison films and to exploit their territories as they saw fit, even by subfranchising them. One agent, for example, would buy the rights to open a chain of Vitascope venues in Louisiana, another in Indiana.

Noting Vitascope’s poor performance in the summer and fall of 1896, film historian Robert C. Allen argues that Vitascope’s biggest mistake was failing to exploit the full potential of vaudeville-theater circuits as an outlet for motion-picture exhibition. Vitascope, charges Allen, locked itself into a rigid state-by-state strategy at about the same time that vaudeville was expanding through chains of theaters that crossed state lines. Because a theater chain with houses in several states had to negotiate deals with several Vitascope agents, it was extremely difficult to book the attraction into interstate circuits. In addition, Vitascope’s commitment to its state-based plan eliminated interstate vaudeville circuits as potential franchisees. In short, says Allen, “the marketing scheme for the vitascope failed because it did not anticipate the use of the motion picture as a popular entertainment device exhibited in a theatrical setting” (see Figure 2.4).[7]

By October 1896, Vitascope’s growing difficulties had forced the Edison Company to reach two conclusions:

  1. It could not sell many more vitascope projectors in a market saturated with machines that could be purchased not only more cheaply but without states-rights constraints.
  2. Selling films only to exclusive customers accomplished little more than putting a cap on the size of the market.

In the same month, therefore, the Edison Company not only began selling films to all buyers, but began copyrighting its subjects much more actively. In 1897, Edison unveiled his own projector, the projectoscope or projecting kinetoscope (Figure 2.5), which he proceeded to sell, in competition with the vitascope, without territorial restrictions.[8]

The Birth of Biograph


                            The K.C.M.D. Group

By the end of 1896, Vitascope had already ceased to be an important force in the American motion-picture business. Edison’s own domination of the U.S. industry was soon challenged by a competitor that had been incorporated in December 1895 and originally called the American Mutoscope Company. It was soon renamed the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company and is usually known as the Biograph Company, after the motion-picture projector that it introduced in October 1896.[9] (The name was officially changed to the Biograph Company in 1909.) Its founders (left to right in the photo to the left) were Harry Marvin, W.K.L. Dickson (still employed by Edison), Herman Casler, and Elias B. Koopman, who called themselves the “K.M.C.D. group” (see Figure 2.6).[10]

The Mutoscope
  The firm’s first project had been a peephole viewer designed to surpass Edison’s kinetoscope in image quality. Introduced in 1895, the mutoscope operated on the same principle as the “flicker” or “riffle book.” As you can see in Figure 2.7, it was a device containing numerous cards, each holding a photographic image; turning the crank rapidly by hand, the viewer flipped the cards and was rewarded with the illusion of moving images. A companion mutograph camera, patented in February 1896, employed 70mm film stock.

Mutoscope Parlor

         Mutoscope Parlor, Toledo, Ohio, 1899

Biograph decided to market its peephole viewer merely as an amusement device, advertising the hand-cranked machine as so simple “that a child can operate it.” Implicit in this feature, however, was the promise that adults could stop the series of frames and examine discrete pictures for as long as they pleased, and by 1897, the most popular mutoscope subjects were male-oriented “blue movies” with such titles as Little Egypt, Dressing Room Scene, and Parisienne Girls (Figure 2.8 [11]), which were intended for both peephole viewing and projection. Mutoscope parlors soon appeared across the country and survived into the late 1890s.[12]

The 70mm Mutograph Camera
  By mid-1895, however (as the Edison Company also discovered), the peephole-viewing business was already in decline. Thus the K.M.C.D. group began work on a projector for the films made with its 70mm mutograph camera. Exhibitions of the Biograph projector began in the summer of 1896 and were immediately hailed for “clear-cut and distinct” motion-picture images that were in fact superior to those projected by competing machines—not to mention almost twice the size of 35mm images. Biograph immediately proceeded to compete on the basis of a higher-quality moviegoing experience. The commercial production of film subjects had already begun in the spring of 1896, with Dickson in charge of production in New York City. Despite its bulk, the firm’s camera (at the time, it had only one) was also taken “on location” (see Figure 2.9), where Dickson and various assistants filmed such popular slices of everyday life as Bicycle Parade on the Boulevard and Empire State Express (the latter just one of several views of onrushing trains).

Mutograph Interior

    Mutograph, Interior View, ca. 1897

The key to the system’s superior picture was the battery-powered 70mm camera developed by Herman Casler. At 250 pounds, the mutograph was complex and cumbersome (see Figure 2.10), but a young cameraman named Billy Bitzer recalls that it recorded at the rate of 320 feet, or 30 pictures, per second, as opposed to the 50 feet and 16 pictures captured by standard 35mm stock.[13] It also produced an image surface four times the size of the standard 35mm frame, and the advantage is worth explaining. A 70mm frame has an area of approximately 1½ square inches. Because a standard 35mm frame is only half as wide, its area is only one-fourth as large. Now consider images taken in both frames projected at a distance of, say, 40 feet: while the 70mm frame must fill a space 87,500 times its own size, the 35mm frame can fill the same space only if it’s magnified 350,000 times. Needless to say, the graininess of the 35mm stock will be much more noticeable. In other words, any problem in definition—clarity of detail—revealed by 70mm stock will be multiplied by a factor of four by 35mm stock.[14]

“It Was in the Air”: Inventors in the Margin

As we noted in Chapter 1.2, although Thomas Edison took out U.S. patents for his kinetograph and kinetoscope in 1893, he did not seek patents overseas. At the same time, however, the Edison Company licensed both the sale of its equipment and the exhibition of its moving pictures around the world. The result of these combined policies was no doubt inevitable: by 1895, devices for showing Edison’s films—indeed, devices for projecting them—were beginning to proliferate, quite legally, all over Europe. In the summer of 1894, Louis and Auguste Lumière were dismantling a kinetoscope as the first step in a systematic effort to overcome its limitations and would take out a French patent on the results—a combination camera-projector—within eight months. Shortly after the first showing of the kinetoscope in Britain, in October 1894, an electrical engineer named R.W. Paul (see Chapter 3.1) simply replicated the unprotected machine and opened his own exhibition hall; by February 1896, Paul had modified the kinetoscope, constructed his own camera, and devised his own projector.

The fact that such projects were inspired by Edison’s machinery doesn’t mean that Thomas Edison alone had made it possible for moving-picture technology to flourish in Europe in the half decade before the turn of the century. The Lumières, for instance, acknowledged several predecessors. “It was in the air,” said Louis Lumière when asked about his own contribution in 1935. “Sooner or later, the works . . . of Edison and especially of Marey and his students would have led to the result.”[15]


              Marey and His Fusil


The Chronophotographic Tradition
  Louis Lumière was well acquainted with the results of Étienne-Jules Marey’s experiments in chronophotographic reproduction and with published accounts of advances in his increasingly sophisticated apparatus for capturing moving images (see Chapter 1.1 and Biographical Sketch 1.1).[16] As early as 1874, French astronomer Pierre-César Janssen had suggested to Marey that objects in motion could be photographed by a camera which captured multiple images on a single photographic plate. By 1882, Marey had improved on Janssen’s concept with a chronophotographic camera using a fixed rotating metal disk slotted to achieve the effect of a shutter.

Marey continued to refine both his technology and his techniques through 1896, replacing the photographic plate with sensitized photographic paper and integrating slotted-disk shutters and a star-shaped fixateur for stopping the film for the duration of each exposure (see Figure 2.11). Marey’s 1896-97 model, the chronophotographe réversible, needed only a light from behind to double as a projector, and a tireuse de film (1897) brought unexposed and negative film into contact in front of the exposure window so that, once developed, the exposed film became positive film for projection.


           Georges Demenÿ

In 1891-92, meanwhile, Marey’s onetime assistant Georges Demenÿ (1850-1917) had used the chronophotographe to create a device for helping the deaf learn the mechanics of speech by simulating moving images of a speaker (Figure 2.12).[17] In 1893, Demenÿ patented a camera that was essentially Marey’s chronophotographe equipped with a so-called “beater” mechanism to ensure intermittent movement. The intermittent-motion device was actually an important step toward the development of both motion-picture cameras and projectors, and in October 1894, Demenÿ approached the Lumière brothers—who manufactured the special glass plates that he needed—with a plan to commercialize a system combining his camera and projection apparatus. The Lumières, however, were well on their way to completing their own combination camera and projector (which they patented in March 1895) and declined Demenÿ’s offer.[18] In 1896, Demenÿ assigned the commercial rights to his inventions to Léon Gaumont, a manufacturer of photographic and optical equipment whose engineers proceeded to transform Demenÿ’s chronophotographe into a camera-projector. The first films of L. Gaumont et cie were shot with an improved version of the erstwhile Demenÿ-Gaumont chronophotographe only a few years later (see Figure 2.13).[19] (For more on Léon Gaumont, see Chapter 6.1.)


         Louis A.A. Le Prince

Independents with Claims to Fame: Le Prince and Friese-Greene
  According to patent applications and contemporary accounts, Louis A.A. Le Prince (1842-1890), a French-born inventor working in the U.S. and Europe between 1881 and 1888, designed and built a motion-picture camera incorporating a sensitized-paper strip with sprocket holes and an intermittent-movement device, as well as a projector using a Maltese cross mechanism (Figure 2.14). By October 1888, Le Prince was filming in the English city of Leeds, and if (as his partisans claim) he had in fact succeeded in projecting moving pictures as early as 1888, he was several years ahead of the Lumières.[20]

In 1880, meanwhile, a prosperous English photographer named William Friese-Greene (1855-1921) had become interested in the projection of “animated” photographs.[21] The evidence (notably a patent application and other documents) suggests that by June 1889, Friese-Greene had built a moving-picture camera equipped with an intermittent-motion device for controlling a “roll of any convenient length of sensitized paper or the like.” It also indicates that Friese-Greene had developed a sprocket wheel and a transparent perforated strip on which to record images. (For more about Friese-Greene, see Reading 2.2.)


       William Friese-Greene

Rethinking the “Heroic Interpretation of History”
  Louis Lumière’s point, therefore, is well taken: by the mid-1890s, the invention of the cinema had been “in the air” for a decade or so, and Lumière himself—a businessman and practical scientist—breathed it under highly favorable conditions. By the end of the 19th century, practical science had entered the service of commercial invention, and commercial invention was fast becoming a province of industrial organization. Thomas Edison, who financed industrial production in West Orange, New Jersey, through the sale of patents and royalties, was a financially stable entrepreneur-industrialist; William Friese-Greene, who tried to finance his activities from the profits of a portrait-photography studio in Bristol, England, was an entrepreneur without the wherewithal to industrialize. Likewise, the individual workman who (like W.K.L. Dickson) was assigned the actual tasks of an industrial project was not “collaborating” with a mentor, but rather working for an enterprise whose goal was the accumulation of assets. Thomas Edison understood that a patent was a practical asset primarily because it could attract capital for its own development and that of related projects, not as a reward for contributing to an invention or process.[22]

The Patent and Progress
  British film historian Michael Chanan finds it ironic that “one reason we know as much as we do about the inventions which led up to the cinema is . . . the number of patents which were filed and the rivalry they produced.”[23] Indeed, patent litigation would become the weapon of choice in the battle to control the film industry from December 1896, when Edison’s first patents were finally granted (four years after their first filing), through March 1907, when a U.S. federal court dismissed the last of Edison’s patent-infringement suits against the Biograph Company, until October 1915, when U.S. courts declared the Motion Picture Patents Company (a consortium of producers and distributors, including Edison and Biograph) an illegal conspiracy in restraint of trade.


          Edison Laboratory, West Orange, NJ, ca. 1900

As a result of all this legal activity, patent policy, especially in the United States, played a pervasive role in a colorful episode in the history of the cinema as a commercial medium. But in considering the wind of invention that Louis Lumière felt “in the air” in 1895, we must remember that although patent policy reflects a government’s attitude toward commercial progress, it has relatively little impact on the actual course of that progress. “The patent system,” contends one American historian, “is based on the heroic interpretation of history. It assumes that an invention is the work of one individual toiling away in the isolation of a garret.”[24] In reality, the process of invention had never been a solitary enterprise, and in the second half of the 19th century, it had become a function of the corporation, which systematized it and made it genuinely productive. In any case, muses American historian J.F. Flexner, “the term inventor has a meaning only if taken in the sense of a man who was slightly in advance of the procession at the crucial moment when his civilization was already on the verge of the discovery he was about to make.”[25]


Biograph   70mm projector marketed by the American Mutoscope Co. beginning in 1896

definition   Clarity of detail in a photographic image, indicating the power of the film stock to define its elements

duping   Practice of printing a duplicate negative from the positive print of an existing film

film stock   Unexposed film

mutograph   70mm camera introduced by the American Mutoscope Co. in the summer of 1895

mutoscope   Peephole viewer, introduced by the American Mutoscope Co., using continuous photographs printed on rapidly hand-flipped individual cards


[1] Quoted by Charles Musser, The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1990), pp. 117-18.

[2] See Musser, The Emergence of Cinema, pp. 129-30. For a detailed account of the development of celluloid film and its adoption by the inventors of early motion-picture apparatus, see Paul C. Spehr, “Unaltered to Date: Developing 35mm Film,” in Moving Images: From Edison to the Webcam, ed. John Fullerton and Astrid Söderberg-Widding (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press), pp. 3-28, at (accessed May 29, 2016). See also Brian Coe, “George Eastman,” Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema (British Film Institute, 2016), at (accessed May 29, 2016). For a complete biography of Eastman, see Elizabeth Bayer, George Eastman (1996; rpt. Rochester, NY: Univ. of Rochester Press, 2012). Eastman’s patent for celluloid film was questionable and did not go unchallenged: see Colin Harding, “C Is for Celluloid . . . the Goodwin vs Kodak Patent Battle over Flexible Film,” Film and Cinematography (December 20, 2012), National Media Museum (Bradford, UK), at (accessed May 29, 2016); and Randy Alfred, “May 2: Celluloid-Film Patent Ignites Long Legal Battle” (May 2, 2008), This Day in Tech, Wired (May 2, 2011), at (accessed May 29, 2016).

[3] See Michael Rogge, “More Than One Hundred Years of Film Sizes” (2015), at (accessed May 29, 2016). The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia provides a chronological listing of film gauges from Marey to IMAX at (accessed May 29, 2016). The era of celluloid film is rapidly coming to an end. By the end of 2014, the screening of films on 35mm strips of photochemically produced film will have been replaced almost completely by digital projection, at least in the U.S. and Western Europe. See Rob Waugh, “Digital Cinema ‘Will Eclipse’ 35mm Film by Early 2012—And Celluloid Will Disappear by 2015,” [The Daily] Mail Online (UK), November 16, 2011, at (accessed May 29, 2016); and Nick Allen, “Hollywood Says Goodbye to Celluloid,” The Telegraph (UK), December 25, 2011, at (accessed May 29, 2016).

[4] This section is based on Musser, The Emergence of Cinema, pp. 109-35, 159-70. See also Musser, “Introducing Cinema to the American Public: The Vitascope in the United States, 1896-7,” in Moviegoing in America, ed. Gregory A. Waller (Malden, MA: 2002), pp. 13-26; “Guide to Motion Picture Catalogs: The Rise of Competition,” The Thomas Edison Papers (Rutgers University, 2011), at (accessed May 29, 2016); Stephen Herbert, “Norman C. Raff and Frank R. Gammon,” Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema (British Film Institute, 2016), at (accessed May 29, 2016).

[5] For Figure 2.3: On Amet, see Stephen Herbert, “Edward Hill Amet,” Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema (British Film Institute, 2016), at (accessed May 29, 2016); Musser, The Emergence of Cinema, pp. 162-63. On Urban’s bioscope, see Luke McKernan, “A View of Life” (2015), Charles Urban, Motion Picture Pioneer (2013), at (accessed May 29, 2016); and Musser, The Emergence of Cinema, pp. 168, 345. Urban is the subject of Biographical Sketch 5.2.

[6] Musser, The Emergence of Cinema, pp. 166-67.

[7] “Vitascope/Cinématographe: Initial Patterns of American Film Industrial Practice,” in Film before Griffith, ed. John Fell (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1983), pp. 144-52. For sketches of numerous vitascope rights owners organized according to commercial interests and strategies, see “The ‘States Rights’ Owners,” Encyclopedia (JRank, 2016), at (accessed May 29, 2016).

[8] For a detailed discussion of Edison’s movie-related activities from 1895 to 1897, see Charles Musser, Before the Nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1991), Chapter 4, at (accessed May 29, 2016). For brief online discussions, see History of Edison Motion Pictures, Library of Congress, at (accessed May 29, 2016). For details about the projecting kinetoscope, see Bob Carter, “Beaverton Edison Projecting Kinetoscope” (1998/2009), at (accessed May 29, 2016).

[9] This section is based mostly on Musser, The Emergence of Cinema, pp. 145-57. See also “Guide to the Motion Picture Catalogs: The Emergence of Biograph and Its Rivalry with Edison,” The Thomas Edison Papers, Rutgers University, at (accessed May 29, 2016); Richard Abel, ed., Encyclopedia of Early Film (New York: Routledge, 2005), p. 21, at (accessed May 29, 2016); and “The American Mutoscope Company: A Different Technology,” Encyclopedia (JRank, 2016), at (accessed May 29, 2016).

[10] See Musser, The Emergence of Cinema, pp. 170-76; and Tino Balio, “A Novelty Spawns Small Businesses: 1894-1908,” in The American Film Industry, ed. Balio (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1976), pp. 10-11. See also Gordon Hendricks, Beginnings of the Biograph: The Story of the Invention of the Mutoscope and the Biograph and Their Supplying Camera (New York: Beginnings of the American Film, 1964). Brief articles on Koopman, Marvin, and Casler can be accessed on the British Film Institute’s Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema website at (accessed May 29, 2016).

[11] For Figure 2.8: “Another ’Scope,” New York Herald, 7 February 1897, p. 9D; quoted by Musser, The Emergence of Cinema, p. 176.

[12] See “Mutoscope,” Early, at (accessed May 29, 2016).

[13] See also Bitzer, “The Biograph Camera” (September 6, 1939), Operating Cameraman (Spring 1995).

[14] This illustration is adapted from James Monaco, How to Read a Film: The Art, Technology, Language, History and Theory of Film and Media (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1977), pp. 90-91.

[15] Quoted by Miriam Rosen, “Lumière, Louis,” in World Film Directors. Volume I. 1890-1945, ed. John Wakeman (New York: H.W. Wilson, 1987), p. 709.

[16] On Marey and chronophotography, see Thierry Lefebvre, “Marey and Chronophotography,” trans. Karine Debbasch, Bibliothèque numérique Medic@ (November 2008), at (accessed May 29, 2016); Deac Rossell, “Chronophotography in the Context of Moving Pictures,” Early Popular Visual Culture 11:1 (2013), pp. 10-27; and Rossell, Living Pictures: The Origins of the Movies (Albany: State Univ. of New York, 1998), Chapter 3. Also consulted: Charl Lucassen, “Étienne-Jules Marey,” Chronophotographical Projections, at (accessed September 7, 2004). Andrew Davidhazy, “Chronophotography—Muybridge’s Experiments, Marey’s Single Negative, Other Systems, Present Day Use, Digital Techniques,” Encyclopedia (JRank, 2016), at (accessed May 29, 2016), traces the development of chronophotographic techniques from Muybridge and Marey through such recent innovations as stroboscopy and digital imaging. For a detailed discussion of the implications of chronophotographic concepts for theories about experimental film and new media, see Mark N.B. Hansen, “Digital Technics beyond the ‘Last Machine’: Thinking Digital Media with Hollis Frampton,” in Between Stillness and Motion: Film, Photography, Algorithms, ed. Eivind Røssaak (Amsterdam: Amsterdam Univ. Press, 2011), pp. 45-75, at (accessed May 29, 2014).

[17] On the inventions and activities of Demenÿ, see Laurent Mannoni, “Georges Demenÿ,” Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema (British Film Institute, 2016) at (accessed May 29, 2016). Also consulted: Charl Lucassen, “Georges Demenÿ,” Chronophotographical Projections, at (accessed September 7, 2004). On the work of Marey and Demenÿ, both scientific and cinematic, see Noël Burch, Life to Those Shadows (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1990), esp. pp. 26-27, at (accessed May 29, 2016); and Tom Gunning, “The Birth of Film Out of the Spirit of Modernity,” in Masterpieces of Modernist Cinema, ed. Ted Perry (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, esp. pp. 35-36, at (accessed May 29, 2016). For a discussion of the work of Marey and Demenÿ in a philosophical context, see Martha Blassnigg, Time, Memory, Consciousness and the Cinema Experience: Revisiting Ideas on Matter and Spirit (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009), Chapter 4, at (accessed May 29, 2016).

[18] See Rosen, “Lumière,” p. 701.

[19] See Richard Abel, The Ciné Goes to Town: French Cinema 1896-1914, rev. ed (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1994), pp. 10-11.

[20] A number of film historians have lent credence to the argument for Le Prince’s claim to primacy in the invention of motion-picture apparatus: see Christopher Rawlence, The Missing Reel: The Untold Story of the Lost Inventor of Moving Pictures (New York: Atheneum, 1990); and Richard Howells, “Louis Le Prince: The Body of Evidence,” Screen 47:2 (2006), pp. 179-200. See also Allan T. Sutherland, “The Yorkshire Pioneers,” in Film before Griffith, ed. Fell, pp. 92-95; “Pioneers of Early Cinema: Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince (1841-1890?),” National Media Museum (Bradford, UK), at (accessed May 29, 2016); and Stephen Herbert, “Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince,” Who’s Who in Victorian Cinema (British Film Institute, 2016), at (accessed May 29, 2016). Also consulted: E. Kilburn Scott, “The Career of L.A.A. Le Prince” (July 1931), Adventures in CyberSound, at (accessed June 18, 2011).

[21] On Friese-Greene, see Brian Coe, “William Friese-Greene and the Origins of Kinematography,” Photographic Journal (March-April 1962), pp. 92-104, 121-26; Deac Rossell, Living Pictures: The Origins of the Movies (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998), pp. 106-09; and Michael Chanan, The Dream That Kicks: The Prehistory and Early Years of Cinema in Britain (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980), pp. 89-93. See also Ray Allister, Friese-Greene: Close-Up of an Inventor (1948; rpt. New York: Arno Press, 1972); Peter Domaniewicz and Stephen Herbert, “William Friese Greene,” Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema (British Film Institute, 2016), at (accessed May 29, 2016); Luke McKernan, “Friese-Greene, William (1855-1921),” Screenonline (British Film Institute, 2003-2014), at (accessed May 29, 2016); and “Pioneers of Early Cinema: William Friese Greene (1855-1921),” National Media Museum (Bradford, UK), at (accessed May 29, 2016). In 1893, Friese-Greene took out a patent for a rather cumbersome 3D process; see Ray Zone, Stereoscopic Cinema and the Origins of 3-D Film (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2007), pp. 59-64, at (accessed May 29, 2016).

[22] See Chanan, The Dream That Kicks, pp. 84-6.

[23] The Dream That Kicks, p. 84.

[24] Herman E. Krooss, American Economic Development: The Progress of a Business Civilization, 3rd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1974), p. 407.

[25] Steamboats Come True (New York: Viking, 1944), p. 378.

Back to top

Return to CHAPTER 1/Part 2

Go to CHAPTER 2/Part 2