FIGURE 6.4

The Gaumont Chronophone System

Léon Gaumont’s first attempt to market his synchronized-sound apparatus in 1902 proved premature. By 1905-1906, however, his company was successfully screening one-reel performance films made with an improved version that simultaneously photographed the action and, by means of sound horns, recorded speech onto a phonographic cylinder (thus the reference here to the chronomegaphone). Although satisfactory synchronization remained a problem for Gaumont (as for all pioneers in the field), the chronophone attained sufficiently clear amplification to be exhibited in such large theaters as the Gaumont Palace in Paris (see Figure 6.7). A few chronophone films, some of them quite intelligible, still exist.

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