There are a lot of posts on the net about Firsts in Movie History (example). All very interesting, but there would be no movies without cameras and film. This post talks about the first one and which inventor brought us the technology that led to home theatre, big screens, IMAX production and the massive industries of Hollywood, Bollywood and all the other “woods” where movies are made around the world.
The first machine patented in the United States that showed animated pictures or movies was a device called the “wheel of life” or “zoopraxiscope“. Patented in 1867 by William Lincoln, moving drawings or photographs were watched through a slit in the zoopraxiscope. However, this was a far cry from motion pictures as we know them today. Modern motion picture making began with the invention of the motion picture camera.
The Frenchman Louis Lumiere is often credited as inventing the first motion picture camera in 1895. But several others had made similar inventions around the same time as Lumiere. What Lumiere invented was a portable motion-picture camera, film processing unit and projector called the Cinematographe, three functions covered in one invention.
The Cinematographe made motion pictures very popular, and it could be better be said that Lumiere’s invention began the motion picture era. In 1895, Lumiere and his brother were the first to present projected, moving, photographic, pictures to a paying audience of more that one person.
The world’s first commercial film screening took place at the Salon Indieu du Grand Cafe in Paris. The film was made by Louis and August Lumiere, two French brothers who invented a camera/projector called the Cinematographe. The original flick showed workers leaving the Lumiere factory. The Lumiere brothers first demonstrated their machine to the public in March 1895 and began charging admission in December the same year. The first public showing, on December 28th, featured 10 short films, including their first film and a humorous segment involving a gardener and a hose. The brothers made 2,000 short films during the next five years.
The list of movie shorts shown on that legendary day were as follows (in order of presentation):
- 1. La sortie des usines Lumiere (1895)
- 2. Laboltige (1895)
- 3. La peche aux poisons rouges (1895)
- 4. Debarquement du congres de photographie a Lyon Le (1895)
- 5. Les forgerons (1895)
- 6. L’arroseur arose (1895)
- 7. Repas de bebe (1895)
- 8. Le saut a la couverture (1895)
- 9. Place des Cordeliers a Lyon (1895)
- 10.La Mer (1895)
In 1891, the Edison company successfully demonstrated the Kinetoscope, which enabled one person at a time to view moving pictures. Later in 1896, Edison showed his improved Vitascope projector, the first commercially successful projector in the U.S.