The Beginnings of Motion Picture

The first tentative motion picture cameras and projectors were created in the late 1880s by the Edison Manufacturing Company, devised using previous ideas from other photo technology innovators like Eadweard Muybridge, Etienne-Jules Marey, Louise Aime Augustin Le Prince and George Eastman.

Although American inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931) is often credited with this breakthrough in technology, much of the key progress was made by Edison’s British assistant, William Kennedy Lauri Dickson (1860-1935). By 1890, Dickson has designed a “Kinetograph,” a crude, motion-picture camera that ran on a motor; and by 1891 he’d created the “Kinetoscope,” an early movie picture projector. His trial film—the first film shot in America—was Monkeyshines No. 1, a simple, experimental 30-second film featuring the movement of a laboratory assistant, as what appears to be a shifting white silhouette on a black background.


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