- 1870s -- Eadweard Muybridge -- Movement of a horse stop action photography
on glass plates. Done with multiple cameras designed so that a horse's
foot would trip each shutter.
- 1882 -- Frenchman Etienne-Jules Marey designed a camera to record
12 separate images on a single strip of film. In 1888 he designed the first
- 1889 -- Eastman Kodak introduces celluoid flexible film base
- 1888 -- Thomas Alva Edison meets with Edweard Muybidge and purchases
90 of his plates to begin experimenting with moving pictures. His intention
was to couple live action with the sound produced by his phonograph.
- Late 1880s -- Edison
commissions William Kennedy Laurie Dickson
build a film camera. Dickson develops the Kinetograph which coupled recorded
images with phonographic sound. The final result in 1892, the peep show
penny arcades which were first installed in 1894.
William Kennedy Laurie Dickson conducted many experiments with the Kinetograph. One of the
earliest surviving experiments is his film of co-worker Fred Ott's "Sneeze":
- 1895 -- Louis and Auguste Lumiere present the first film projector
-- the Cinematographe.
- 1896 -- Edison produces a film projector developed by Thomas Armat
and C. Francis Jenkins and exploited by vaudeville peep show promoters
Norman C. Raff and Frank R. Gammon. This projector was called the Vitascope.
- April 1896 -- First public movie theatre -- the Theatre Robert Houdin
-- operated by magician and photographer Georges Melies in Paris using
a modified British projector developed initially by Robert William Paul.
Meleis became known for developing the world's first "trick"
photography with cut edits and disolves. 1902 he produced Jules Verne's
A Trip To The Moon 14 minutes long and three times the length of any previous
film. This also demonstrated Melies genius for editing with 30 separate
- 1902 -- 1926: The era of the silent film while inventors including
Edison sought to link sound mechanically with moving film images.
- 1904 -- Frenchman Eugene Lauste records sound onto a piece of photographic
- 1907 -- 1913 various fim and sound inventions included the Vivaphone,
Synchroscope, the Chronophone, the Cameraphone and the Cinephone. Edison
produced the Kinetophone in 1913 -- a "Rube Goldberg" device of belts and
pulleys and received boos for his efforts at Keith's Union Square theatre
in New York City.
- 19teens -- Western Electric develops along with Lee DeForest (1906 Audion)
a method or recording and reproducing sound electronically on disc. Western Electric Buought the rights to the use of the Audio for amplifying the
- 1921 -- DeForest improves the method of recording sound on film and patents
a new invention he calls the phonofilm.
- September 1925 -- Warner Bros. contracts with the AT&T method of
sound with film and releases its first sound with film pictures in 1926
using a system dubbed the Vitaphone.
Don Juan, released in 1926 was the
first film to inlcude music on an amplified sound- track.
- October 1927 -- The Jazz Singer featuring Al Jolson is released by
Warner Bros. Not an immediate hit in New York, but it gained long-lasting
fame when it moved into America's heartland. It was rebooked in 1928 in
New York and grossed $100,000 a week.
- May 1927 -- Fox Film Corporation works with a new AT&T development
-- sound on film. Fox uses this system to produce newsreels which would
play prior to feature films at theatres.The first big publicity coups was
the flight of Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic. Also memorable was
the capturing of the explosion of the Hindenburg. These newsreel shorts
became known as the Movietone News.
- May 1928 -- the major film companies (Paramount, Loews/MGM, First National
and United Artists) sign with AT&T to produce pictures with sound on
film despite the introduction of a competing format developed by RCA.
- End of 1920s -- only a few theatres in America's largest cities continued
to maintain a house orchestra and organist.
- September 1928 -- Warner Bros. releases The Singing Fool -- again starring
Al Jolson. Tickets for the first night were $11.00. "Sonny Boy" and "There's
a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder" from the film became the first million selling
record of the "talkie" era. The Singing Fool cost $200,000 to
produce but drew an unprecedented $5,000,000.