|Perhaps the first attempts of Moving Pictures were SHADOGRAPHS. Instance; Hands and Fingers twisted into weird shaped to cast shadows of Animal Heads between an Oil Lamp or a Candle and a light wall. A favourite for a Child and Home entertainment was a Rabbit with waggy ears and twitchey nose.
Another form of Shadowgraph in the EAST INDIES brought cutouts of Tigers, Dragons, Gods & Demons between a Light and a translucent screen. Still a Tourist Attraction, I am told.
In 1824 the phenomenon of PERSISTENCE OF VISION was realised and many forms of Optical Toys became available. The THAUMATROPE.... A double-sided card, a PARROT on one side and a CAGE on the other. Rotated rapidly and the Bird is seen in the Cage. A ZOETROPE .... A device something like a Cake tin with slots cut halfway down the sides and a paper ring of drawings on the inside. Viewed through the slots the drawings move .... Jumping Horses etc.
The Magic Lantern must surely be the Grandparent of the Cinemas. First mentioned in the 17th century it was successively lit with Candles, Oil, Paraffin, Lime Light, Acetylene, Electric Carbon Arc and Filament Lamps.
3¼ inches square is the established slide size. Drawings were the first images, then paintings with Coloured Varnishes and Coloured transfers for mass production. Moving Slides were soon demanded .... Two Boys would be painted, each with FOUR ARMS, an extra glass with blacked out patches shot quickly back and forth and they seemed to be fighting. I have one of a cock picking up Corn. Popular with the children was a man in bed with his mouth open snoring, a Rat runs up the bed cover into his mouth.
William Friese-Greene filed the first CINEMA PATENT No. 10131 in 1889. Seven years before Lumiere first showed to a paying audience in London.
He started with a ring of Slides circling a Magic Lantern and a shutter cutting off light as each slide moved on, but achieved only one picture change per second. His camera dropped sensitised glass slides for exposure, one after another.
Realising glass was too cumbersome he then used rolls of sensitized paper to be replaced with newly invented Celluloid.
This he heated and rolled out to 65 ft lengths on his kitchen table, he added sprockets to his camera and punched holes in the film so that successive exposures were accurately framed.
Friese-Greene was a man before his time: His first Camera had Twin Lenses and his first Celluloid Films were stereoscopic or 3D. He also Tinted some films with Dyes and attempted to link them with a Phonograph .... Talkies.
He demonstrated to various Scientific groups but could not find a Sponsor or financial backing: became a Bankrupt and died in 1921 at a Film Industry Conference with only one shilling and ten pence in his pocket.
A mechanic/engineer who made his equipment is said to have gone to America and joined the Thos Eddison Laboratory.
Edison and Dickson made a camera to produce Forty Six pictures a second, using Celluloid Roll Film, which had been promoted by George Eastman for his First KODAK cameras.
Loops of film were fitted with mechanisms into Coin operated cabinets with a flashing light for individual viewing.
The Film width was 35mm which has remained the Standard Professional film gauge.
Edison already had Salons of Coin Operated Phonographs and added his KINETOSCOPE cabinets.
These came to England and France. Extra Films were "ACQUIRED" in both countries. Projectors developed and Cameras made to suit this already available film.
Lumiere Bros were just one jump ahead with a public show in France in 1895 and in London in February 1896. Each Film lasted less than one minute.
R.W. PAUL'S ANINATOGRAPH was showing in March at the Alhambra; he Filmed the Derby Finish the same year. Burt Acres, was showing the KINEOPTICON at three different Cinema shows in London in 1896.
A. J. George, July 6 1996