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Thomas Edison Patents Kinetoscope in the US (1897) Options
Daemon
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Thomas Edison Patents Kinetoscope in the US (1897)

Developed by Edison's assistant, W.K.L. Dickson, the kinetoscope was a precursor to the modern motion-picture projector. It works through a phenomenon known as "persistence of vision," in which a sequence of images creates the illusion of motion. Initially, Edison hoped to synchronize the images with sound, but he was unable to achieve this. The kinetoscope was designed to be viewed by one person at a time. Why did Edison supposedly balk at the idea of projecting films before larger audiences? More...
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Thomas Edison Patents Kinetoscope in the US (1897)
Developed by Edison's assistant, W.K.L. Dickson, the kinetoscope was a precursor to the modern motion-picture projector. It works through a phenomenon known as "persistence of vision," in which a sequence of images creates the illusion of motion. Initially, Edison hoped to synchronize the images with sound, but he was unable to achieve this. The kinetoscope was designed to be viewed by one person at a time.
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Kinetoscope
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Not to be confused with Kinescope.
Interior view of Kinetoscope with peephole viewer at top of cabinet

The Kinetoscope is an early motion picture exhibition device. The Kinetoscope was designed for films to be viewed by one individual at a time through a peephole viewer window at the top of the device. The Kinetoscope was not a movie projector, but introduced the basic approach that would become the standard for all cinematic projection before the advent of video, by creating the illusion of movement by conveying a strip of perforated film bearing sequential images over a light source with a high-speed shutter. A process using roll film first described in a patent application submitted in France and the U.S. by French inventor Louis Le Prince, the concept was also used by U.S. inventor Thomas Edison in 1889, and subsequently developed by his employee William Kennedy Laurie Dickson between 1889 and 1892.[1] Dickson and his team at the Edison lab also devised the Kinetograph, an innovative motion picture camera with rapid intermittent, or stop-and-go, film movement, to photograph movies for in-house experiments and, eventually, commercial Kinetoscope presentations.

A prototype for the Kinetoscope was shown to a convention of the National Federation of Women's Clubs on May 20, 1891.[2] The first public demonstration of the Kinetoscope was held at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences on May 9, 1893.[2] Instrumental to the birth of American movie culture, the Kinetoscope also had a major impact in Europe; its influence abroad was magnified by Edison's decision not to seek international patents on the device, facilitating numerous imitations of and improvements on the technology. In 1895, Edison introduced the Kinetophone, which joined the Kinetoscope with a cylinder phonograph. Film projection, which Edison initially disdained as financially nonviable, soon superseded the Kinetoscope's individual exhibition model. Many of the projection systems developed by Edison's firm in later years would use the Kinetoscope name.

Development
Sheet of images from one of the three Monkeyshines films (ca. 1889–90) produced as tests of an early version of the Kinetoscope

An encounter with the work and ideas of photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge appears to have spurred Edison to pursue the development of a motion picture system. On February 25, 1888, in Orange, New Jersey, Muybridge gave a lecture that may have included a demonstration of his zoopraxiscope, a device that projected sequential images drawn around the edge of a glass disc, producing the illusion of motion. The Edison facility was very close by, and the lecture was possibly attended by both Edison and his company's official photographer, William Dickson. Two days later, Muybridge and Edison met at Edison's laboratory in West Orange; Muybridge later described how he proposed a collaboration to join his device with the Edison phonograph—a combination system that would play sound and images concurrently.[3] No such collaboration was undertaken, but in October 1888, Edison filed a preliminary claim, known as a caveat, with the U.S. Patent Office announcing his plans to create a device that would do "for the Eye what the phonograph does for the Ear". It is clear that it was intended as part of a complete audiovisual system: "we may see & hear a whole Opera as perfectly as if actually present".[4] In March 1889, a second caveat was filed, in which the proposed motion picture device was given a name, Kinetoscope, derived from the Greek roots kineto- ("movement") and scopos ("to view").[5]

Edison assigned Dickson, one of his most talented employees, to the job of making the Kinetoscope a reality. Edison would take full credit for the invention, but the historiographical consensus is that the title of creator can hardly go to one man:

While Edison seems to have conceived the idea and initiated the experiments, Dickson apparently performed the bulk of the experimentation, leading most modern scholars to assign Dickson with the major credit for turning the concept into a practical reality. The Edison laboratory, though, worked as a collaborative organization. Laboratory assistants were assigned to work on many projects while Edison supervised and involved himself and participated to varying degrees.[6]

Dickson and his then lead assistant, Charles Brown, made halting progress at first. Edison's original idea involved recording pinpoint photographs, 1/32 of an inch wide, directly on to a cylinder (also referred to as a "drum"); the cylinder, made of an opaque material for positive images or of glass for negatives, was coated in collodion to provide a photographic base.[7] An audio cylinder would provide synchronized sound, while the rotating images, hardly operatic in scale, were viewed through a microscope-like tube. When tests were made with images expanded to a mere 1/8 of an inch in width, the coarseness of the silver bromide emulsion used on the cylinder became unacceptably apparent. Around June 1889, the lab began working with sensitized celluloid sheets, supplied by John Carbutt, that could be wrapped around the cylinder, providing a far superior base for the recording of photographs.[8] The first film made for the Kinetoscope, and apparently the first motion picture ever produced on photographic film in the United States, may have been shot at this time (there is an unresolved debate over whether it was made in June 1889 or November 1890); known as Monkeyshines, No. 1, it shows an employee of the lab in an apparently tongue-in-cheek display of physical dexterity.[9] Attempts at synchronizing sound were soon left behind, while Dickson would also experiment with disc-based exhibition designs.[10]

with my pleasure
ChristopherJohnson
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An early form of cinematography and television.
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