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Edison and cinema

Most of us know Thomas Edison for his invention of the light bulb. The American inventor also helped create the technology behind motion pictures and even owned a production company

Published: 20th May 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th May 2017 12:36 AM   |  A+A-

Most of us know Thomas Edison for his invention of the light bulb. The American inventor also helped create the technology behind motion pictures and even owned a production company

Movie in a box

  • Edison displayed his ‘Kinetoscope’ to the public for the first time on this day in 1891
  • It was invented by Edison and his assistant William Dickson. The device was a little more than a wood cabinet containing a strip of film and a blinking bulb, Doug Bierend writes in the Wired
  • Inside the device, a strip of film was passed rapidly between a lens and a light bulb. The viewers would watch the picture through a peephole. Behind the peephole, there was a spinning wheel that acted as a shutter. This would permit a glimpse of each of the 46 frames passing in front of the shutter—and objects moved

Black Maria
Edison did not stop with the Kinetoscope. He produced motion pictures and sold them too. He had the first movie studio—the Black Maria—built in New Jersey, in 1893, Doug adds. He also set up the Edison Manufacturing Company

1,200
motion pictures, including 54 feature length films, produced by the company

Tickets at 25¢
Some of the motion pictures--Roosters, Blacksmiths and Horse Shoeing. They were filmed at the Black Maria studio. Some of the pictures were on disasters and the life of celebrities. One was on the assassination of President McKinley. The audience paid 25 cents to view five reels

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