ERNST MACH (1838 - 1916)
  Mach was a professor in Prague. He photographed the passage of fast-moving objects clearly showing the sound waves breaking the air in excess of 760 miles per hour. Electrical illumination was triggered when the objects struck wires prior to impacting glass targets, creating a spark effect.  


Friese-Greene uses what could be considered the earliest form of film, oiled paper.
William Friese-Greene
William Friese-Greene       


Le Prince begins initial work on his motion picture experiments and in 1886 applies for a patent for the production of animated pictures.
C. P. STIRN ( - )
  In keeping with the secretive and hidden cameras of Herigone and Zahn, Stirn presents a ‚€˜Vest Camera‚€™, which takes pictures through a buttonhole. It took multiple exposures on a plate the size of a 4-inch plate. Within four years Stirn will sell 18,000 of them.  
OTTOMAR ANSCHUTZ (1846 - 1907)
  The Schnellseher of Anshutz (soon to be better known in the west as the Tachyscope) is introduced in Germany. Tachyscopes were introduced into the U.S. later in the decade, perhaps as early as 1887. It has been suggested that Anschutz was the most influential of the motion photographers in the work of Thomas Edison.  
  Friese-Greene had been working on synchronizing the Phonograph with the projector he was working on. As history dictates, he never accomplished this dream even though he wrote to Edison with no response. His papers do however quote him as writing;  
  "Why should not moving pictures be combined with records of other sounds - all sounds, speech, traffic, the thud of horses' feet on the turf, the striking of the ball on bat at a cricket match, the sounds of human speech? Synchronization of sound and sight was surely only a matter of improvement in mechanism."  

Hannibal Williston Goodwin 1887

This full-time Pastor and part-time inventor desired to improve on the ability of the magic lantern to project better images to his Sunday school members. In 1887 Goodwin filed for patent, a new flexible medium known as Cellulose roll film. It was transparent, tough, yet flexible. He patented it under the name of Photographic Pellicle. His patent took eleven years to be finally granted, in 1898. Marey immediately began to use this new roller film in his work.

Hannibal Goodwin

Muybridge's Zoopraxiscope 1887

Muybridge publishes his 100,000 plus photos in 'Animal Locomotion- An Electro-photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements'. There were over seven hundred plates, all folio-sized, in eleven volumes. This work is today a reference source in motion study and is considered the most exhaustive analysis ever made of the subject. When seen through the Zoopraxiscope (as early as 1879), Muybridge's photographs are without debate, the world's first motion pictures. Men, women, children and animals are seen as in true motion, resembling nothing less in quality or appearance than the earliest works of the Lumiere's in 1895. Muybridge's final accomplishment was without Celluloid, yet fluid, preceding the commercial films of the 1890's by at least 16 years. When considering the fact that there are 172,800 + frames in a typical two hour film of today, Muybridge's 20,000 pictures, if shown consecutively (impossible with the Zoopraxiscope) would provide a film of approximately 13+ minutes in length. In comparison, The Great Train Robbery of 1912 (Edwin Porter) was 12 minutes, and Chaplin's Behind the Screen of 1916, was 15 minutes. Muybridge of course, was not using Celluloid.
               Muybridge's Zoopraxiscope  

OTTOMAR ANSCHUTZ (1846 - 1907)

Anschutz uses a Geissler vacuum tube to illuminate his Electrotachyscope {Electrical Tachyscope}. The instrument was unable because of its construction and design to be viewed by more than a handful at once, as opposed to a projecting device, which could entertain hundreds. The Electrotachyscope (based again on the concept of the Zoetrope almost exactly) operated as a large stroboscopic disk revolving rapidly. It held around it‚€™s circumference, the photographs which were illuminated by an initial spark thereby providing ‚€˜electric rapid vision.‚€™ The viewer(s) watched the motion at around eye level. The disk contained fewer than 100 images, limiting it‚€™s use almost from the start. Disks were not the way of the future as Kamm discovered. The Electrotachyscope was exhibited in 1893 at the World‚€™s Fair in Chicago. Anschutz was one of the first to take photographs successively and instantaneously. His photographs for the Electrotachyscope were taken beginning in 1885. The Philadelphia Photographer of 1887 (June 4 edition) had this to say of Anschutz; ‚€œthe photographer, Anschutz, of Lissa, has an apparatus . . . for the most stroboscopic combination of the motion pictures produced by him.‚€œ

The Electrotachyscope or Electrical Tachyscope (right) of Ottomar Anschutz.
The Electrical Tachyscope Of Ottomar Anschutz

THOMAS ALVA EDISON (1847 - 1931)
  Edison is always looking into the future while working on the present. He begins to develop another motion picture projector that will unite his Phonograph with the Kinetoscope thereby providing sound to match the pictures. In his first caveat (Motion Picture Caveat 1) of 1888, Edison began with; ‚€œI am experimenting upon an instrument which does for the Eye what the phonograph does for the Ear . . ."  

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Marey's Fusil Photographique
    Inner Workings of the Fusil Photographique
√‰TIENNE-JULES MAREY (1830 - 1904)

Marey produced a new Chronophotographic camera using rolls of paper instead of glass plates. He provided this information to the Academie des Sciences. Marey was able to take as many as forty frames at a time. Marey's revolving disk gun cameras achieved high speeds and much shorter intervals than Muybridge's method. They were also lighter, less cumbersome and therefore portable. Later in 1889, Marey further communicated to the Academie on his experiments and progress;
‚€œTo complete the researches which I have communicated to the Academy at recent sessions [1888] I have the honour to present today a band of sensitized paper upon which a series of impressions has been obtained, at the rate of twenty per second. The apparatus which I have constructed for this purpose winds off a band of sensitized paper with a speed which may reach 1m, 60 per second, as this speed exceeds my actual needs I have reduced it to 0m, 80. If the impressions are taken while the paper is in motion, no clearness will be obtained, and only the changes of position of the subject experimented upon, will be apparent. But if, by means of a special device, based upon the employment of an electro-magnet, the paper is arrested during the period of exposure, 1/5000 of a second, the impression will possess all the clearness that is desirable. This method enables me to obtain the successive impressions of a man or of an animal in motion, while avoiding the necessity of operating in front of a black background. It seems moreover destined to greatly facilitate the studies of the locomotion of men and animals."

  Hyatt coins the phrase 'Celluloid' from the chemical term Cellulose. He founds the Celluloid Manufacturing Company in Newark, New Jersey. Hyatt is successful in producing optically clear Celluloid sheets of just 0.01" thick.  


The first patent for an image-projection device that incorporated perforations is granted this year. The projector is that of Reynaud and is called the Théâtre Optique. This machine is an extention of his original Praxinoscope but is much larger and intended for public projection for a large audience. This performance will take place in 1892. SEE THEATRE OPTIQUE 1892

  Carbutt begins manufacture of the first successful plastic-base sheet-films in Philadelphia from the Celluloid Manufacturing Company. Where Hyatt improved on Parkes original attempts, Carbutt now takes the Celluloid strips of Hyatt and prepares them for photographic use. Carbutt announced his product to the Photographic Society of Philadelphia and presented it to the Franklin Institute when he said;  
  ‚€œThe substance I have the honour to bring to your notice tonight is this sheet celluloid, manufactured by the Celluloid Manufacturing Company. It is some three or four years since I first examined into this material, but the manufacturers had not then perfected the finish of it to render it available, and it is only during this year that it has been produced in uniform thickness and finish, and I am now using at my factory large quantities of sheet celluloid 1/100 of an inch in thickness, coated with the same emulsion as used on glass, forming flexible negative films, the most complete and perfect substitute for glass I believe yet discovered . . . I will now show on the screen lantern transparencies from film negatives, both contact and reduced in the camera.‚€œ  
GEORGE EASTMAN (1854 - 1932)
  Eastman continues research and development of photographically prepared Celluloid roll film for motion picture camera use. During Eastman's career, he was quoted on the subject of light and the pinhole image, saying . . . "Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography".  


A Frenchman working primarily in Leeds England, who earlier had emigrated to the U.S., Le Prince patents in the U.S., a camera and projector described as having sixteen lenses (however the application describes "one or more lenses"). So close to being the first to project moving pictures publicly, he also applied for international patents in Belgium, Italy, Austria, Hungary, France, and in England, which he would never live to see granted. In fact, the British patent described among other things; flexible film, (positive and negative) and intermittent movement in the shutter. His apparatus was capable of showing animated pictures, which he had already presented in the Whitley factory in Leeds (see below). An interesting twist happens in the story of this man Le Prince. He disappeared without a trace on September 16, 1890 while on a train from Dijon to Paris. He was never found even though three detectives from three countries investigated the disappearance. Not only was his body never seen again, nor were his many papers he carried, as well as his luggage.
Louis A. A. Le Prince
Louis A.A. Le Prince
An excellent read on this mystery would be The Missing Reel, by Christopher Rawlence, (Atheneum Publishers, New York 1990). Le Prince was enroute to patent his device in London and then go to New York for a public demonstration. After his disappearance, the Le Prince family led by his wife and son went to court against Edison in what became known as Equity 6928. The famous Patent Wars ensued and by 1908 Thomas Edison will be named sole inventor of motion pictures, in the U.S, at least. However, in 1902, two years after Le Prince‚€™s son Adolphe had testified in the suit, he was found shot dead on Fire Island, New York. Le Prince‚€™s apparatus was eventually built by Herman Casler and was used in taking pictures. A photograph of a drowning victim who resembled Le Prince was found in Paris police archives in 2003. The picture was from an investigation undertaken in 1890. The photograph referred to can be seen here at the Who's Who of Victorian Cinema website.


Earliest Extant Film: Roundhay Garden Scene of 14 October, 1888 From Louis Aime Augustin Le Prince

No other strip of film has ever been produced which pre-dates this one. It is known as the Roundhay Garden Scene (right). Le Prince photographed this sequence (2-3 weeks prior to Leeds) in the garden of the Whitley home, (home of his father-in-law) Roundhay, Leeds. This 'film' was never shown by Le Prince and exists today only as a result of photographic copies of the original paper frames (made by the NMPFT in 1930), and reconstructed animations.

Le Prince's original pictures where photographed using his 16-lens camera (the LPCC 16-lens camera) and used Eastman Kodak film-paper. They were shot at sixteen frames per second. Unlike Leeds, Roundhay had 'actors' namely; Adolphe Le Prince (Louis' son), Sarah Whitley (Louis' mother-in-law), Joseph Whitley (factory owner where Le Prince worked) and Harriet Hartley. The entire episode shows everyone walking around in a circle.

Remaining Frames From The First 'Film' Le Prince Shot Called 'Roundhay Garden Scene' From 1888
'Roundhay Garden Scene' Of 14 October 1888
Interestingly, Le Prince never really gave his cameras and projectors a name as did other inventors. They were simply known as the single-lens or the 16-lens, or by the patent number. He did however within his patents, title his cameras as "receivers" and his projector as a "deliverer".
The Remaining Twenty Frames  Of Le Prince's 1888 'Leeds Bridge Traffic' Scene

Second Earliest Film: Leeds Bridge Traffic Scene of October 1888 From Louis A. A. Le Prince

Le Prince used non-perforated sensitized Kodak roll-paper film for these frames which remain twenty in all. These frames show daily traffic crossing the River Aire in Leeds England and were photographed in October 1888 by Le Prince. According to Michael Harvey of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in London, "These only exist today as photographic copies, made in the 1930s, of parts of the paper film strips".

Although never shown publicly, or announced to the world, Le Prince did present his cinematography of the "Leeds Bridge Traffic" (also known as 'Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge') in the Whitley factory two years before Donisthorpe and seven years before the Lumiere's cafe presentation.

As the Roundhay Garden Scene frames have been re-constructed into an almost-real experience, so has the Leeds Bridge Traffic. The twenty remaining frames (above) have been created into a two-second looped animation showing how it may have looked at that time. These pictures were taken shortly after the pictures in the Whitley garden were filmed. Notice that even horses travelled on the left in 1888 England.

This photograph (right) is of the newer iron-span bridge over the River Aire in Leeds, which was built in 1945. The original stone bridge was opened on 9 July 1873. The filming took place from a window in the premises of Hick Brothers (the building of which is still standing), which can be seen on the right side of the photograph, directly above the bridge. The window Le Prince used is within the white rectangle.

The arrow indicates the angle and direction from which Le Prince made his historic footage. Adolphe Le Prince wrote on the taking of this 'film'; "Portion of a series taken by Le Prince with his second one-lens camera in October, 1888. A view of the moving traffic on Leeds Bridge, England. Taken at 20 pictures a second in poor light. His eldest son was with him when he took the picture". -- Adolphe Le Prince

The "second one-lens camera" Adolphe was referring to was his father's LPCCP MKLL single-lens camera patented in London and Paris (1888 & 1890) respectively.

Leeds Bridge Today (Photo taken in 1945)
An Extraordinary Virtual Tour Of The Leeds Bridge Today. It's Like Your Standing on the Bridge!
1945 Picture Of The Leeds Bridge Identifying the Window (boxed) And Angle (arrow) Le Prince Used When Photographng The Traffic On The Bridge, late October, 1888

Le Prince quite likely, never knew the importance of his work or the impact these two cinematographic episodes of common life would have on the world. He did understand however, that he was one of many men working on the very same thing during the very same decade. Both Leeds and Roundhay were experimental films, taken during the research and development stage of his work. None of his machines ( the LPCC 16-lens camera, the LPCCP MKL single-lens camera, the LPCCP MKLL single-lens camera and the LPP 3-lens projector) were anywhere close to being perfected, but were all successfully patented in the United States, England and France between 1888 and 1890.

The one exception was the LPCCP MKL single-lens camera which was refused patent in the United States in 1888. These are the most important cinematic events simply because they are the first ever made using a continuous strip (paper or celluloid) of individually photographed frames that were projected in sequence providing fluid motion, in history.

Le Prince's 1888 Single Lens Camera (LPCCP MKLL) Used In Filming The Leeds Bridge Traffic Footage

Influenced By Other Pioneers
The Le Prince family knew Louis Daguerre and considered him a friend. Daguerre had offered Louis some of his photographic know-how in 1875. Louis Le Prince as well had seen much of the work done by Eadweard Muybridge for Stanford. Le Prince wanted to involve himself in the possibility of creating motion using photographs.

By early 1888 Le Prince invited carpenter Frederic Mason to make camera bodies, and James Longley to make the working parts. By that summer Le Prince had designed and constructed two single-lens cameras, one photographing at the speed of 12 frames per second and the other at twenty fps. He takes pictures in the family garden and at the bridge.

First using non-perforated paper roll film from Eastman, he later began using celluloid due to non-stability of the paper film in the machines. Le Prince also designed and constructed a separate projector consisting of three bands, three lenses and a Maltese Cross.

Image Of Eight Extant Frames By Le Prince Used To Recreate The 'Roundhay Garden Scene' 1888
Le Prince's single lens camera (above) [MK2] 1888, identified by his son Adolphe as the "second one-lens camera" in a written commentary referring to the Leeds Bridge filming. NOTE on ©: The photograph to the left was found on websites not identifying it as copyrighted, nor in the public domain, nor providing any source. We feel from numerous other similar images and charactertistics of this picture, it is likely from the NMM collection and identify it as such. We have not found this image at NMPFT online. Visit The NMM here.
These frames (above) are eight of what are left of the film taken by Le Prince on 14 October 1888 in the Whitley garden.

In his patent for the single-lens camera (MK2, above) of 1888, Le Prince identified the machine as a "Method And Apparatus For
T he Projection of Animated Pictures In View Of The Adaptation To Operatic Scenes"
. It photographed the now-famous scenes on 60mm paper film at the rate of twelve frames per second (Roundhay) and twenty frames per second (Leeds Bridge) according to Adolphe Le Prince in later commentaries and who was present at both events and seen on-screen in one.


  Working for Edison as a co-inventor/employee, Dickson comes up with the Kinetograph, the first Celluloid film motion picture camera. The processed film was used in the Kinetoscope, also invented by Dickson. The Kinetoscope was the first continuous-film, motion picture projector.  


This French magician can safely be referred to as the pioneer of fantasy films and special effects on a large scale. Going by his second name of Georges, Melies purchased the Robert-Houdin theatre this year and took his profession as an illusionist to a new level. He was a masterful theatrical showman to say the least. The combination of having worked with the magic lantern, being a professional magician, and a chance event with his camera allowed Melies to craft his career into a true fantasist. The event involved the film in his camera jamming while shooting on a street. After processing the film and viewing it, Melies noticed that subjects had changed from this to that disappeared and appeared and had appeared as fades and dissolves. Melies began showing films in his theatre from 1896 onward with split-screen effects, superimpositions, fade-outs, slow and stop-motion, double exposures and dissolves incorporated into the stories. His most famous film is perhaps remembered as A Trip To The Moon of 1902. He made over 400 films before he died and did so, penniless.
Single Frame From Georges Melies' Man In The Moon 1902
Frame from A Trip to the Moon
Artistic Humour And A Melies French Stamp
Georges Melies life work was honored in more ways than only artistically. The French government honoured him for his cinematic contribution in France with a postage stamp bearing his image. The commercialization of films forced him out of the movie-making business in 1913. He died in poverty in 1938.

  Muybridge speaks with Edison again, about the possibility of amalgamating his Zoopraxiscope with Edison‚€™s Phonograph in the hopes of producing sound pictures in the future. Edison was already considering this idea in his New Jersey laboratories however it would be another forty years before becoming a reality. Muybridge had been lecturing at Orange, New Jersey at the invitation of the New England Society. On the contrary, Edison disputes this mention, or at least his notes apparently did when it was found in them that Edison scratched out the words . . . . .‚€œNo --- Muybridge came to lab to show me picture of a horse in motion -- nothing was said about phonograph.‚€Ě  
  Hallwachs experimented with the possibility of creating photoelectric cells for use in the camera. A German physicist, Hallwachs demonstrated that some objects emit electrons when exposed to sunlight. The television camera exists because of the orthicon tube. This phenomenon is known as photoemission.  
  Rudge and Friese-Greene work together to devise an instrument called a Biophantic Lantern. This device worked alongside the Biophantoscope (also spelled Biophantascope) which would allow multiple slides to be projected giving a strong impression of movement. Rudge's work greatly influenced Friese-Greene who went on to photograph street scenes and present them publicly this year. Rudge was a magic lantern and instrument maker from Bath, England. Rudge also works on his Phantascope.  

  They jointly finish the development of an apparatus Donisthorpe began in 1878. It projected a Celluloid ribbon and maintained the name Kinesigraph. In 1889 they patented it. The machine photographed at approximately 10 frames per second and 10 frames alone, are extant. Below is an amazing recreation in animated form, from these actual frames that survive. The frame below is Trafalgar Square, London, 1890 as photographed by Donisthorpe.  
Ten Remaining Frames Of  Donisthorpe's 1890 'Trafalgar Square' Footage Come To Life

Donisthorpe's Trafalgar Square Footage of 1890

In 1890 Wordsworth Donisthorpe filmed the traffic at London's Trafalgar Square with a camera he and Crofts had patented. This footage has not been contested as the first motion picture ever taken of the city of London.

This scene was never shown publicly. History has not revealed its name, however this machine, which was patented in 1889 allowed a continuous roll of film to pass through the aperture evenly and smoothly. The take-up reel and supply reel were almost synchronized as to provide the stability needed to avoid tearing and flickering.

Donisthorpe was never able to acquire backing for the project of moving pictures. Crofts and Donisthorpe had previously created their Kinesigraph in 1878.

Ten frames of the Trafalgar Square footage (originally taken on paper) are extant and have been digitized and created here (left) to show how it may have looked in 1890.

Donisthorpe's remaining ten frames (above) taken in 1890 have been created into an animation showing what this brief scene may have looked like at the time.

  A British photographer, Greene presents a short film using Celluloid film, and his Cinematographic camera which used five frames per second. He requests a British patent for it, which will be issued in 1891, calling it an ‚€œImproved apparatus for taking photographs in rapid series.‚€Ě An article appeared in the Optical Magic Lantern Journal and Photographic Enlarger of this year describing the apparatus;  
  This instrument is pointed at a particular object and by turning the handle several photographs are taken each second. These are converted into transparencies, and placed in succession upon a long strip, which is wound on rollers and passed through a lantern of peculiar construction (also the invention of Mr. Friese-Greene), and by it‚€™s agency projected upon a screen. When the reproduction of speech is desired this instrument is used in conjunction with the phonograph.‚€Ě  
  Le Prince uses sensitized roll Celluloid for his Cinematograph.  
GEORGE EASTMAN (1854 - 1932)
  Eastman's company begins to manufacture Celluloid roll film for use in cameras. Eastman also applies for a patent on his film. This now ends the period where film stripping required a coating being peeled off prior to use. Eastman‚€™s transparent film becomes a standard in an industry even before it‚€™s commercial birth.  
  During this time period more and more ‚€˜detective‚€™ cameras roll off the production lines. Some are in the shapes of ties, hats and even bags.  

Thomas Edison 1889
THOMAS ALVA EDISON (1847 - 1931)

Edison travels to Europe and meets Marey who shows Edison a device projecting photographs by way of electricity. In New Jersey, Edison receives specified roll film from George Eastman for use at his laboratories. Edison applies for a patent on his Kinetoscope and Kinetograph combination system, which takes two years to receive.
Edison's Kinetoscope
         Thomas A. Edison  
Edison's Kinetoscope    

  Takes out a patent in Britain detailing more ideas to further his Praxinoscope and Lamposcope. They include; using a band which is not only continuous but infinite in length; advancing this concept with rollers that contain the great length in the supply and take-up mode; using a toothed band, to maintain smoothness and surety. The Praxinoscope is known also as Praxinoscope Projecting Theatre, Optical Theatre and Theatriaxinoscope.  
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