What was Thomas Edison's role in the motion picture industry?

World Book Explains: What was Thomas Edison's role in the motion picture industry? Pamela Miner, Curator at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, talks about Thomas Edison's contributions to the early motion-picture industry. This video was filmed at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, Florida.

The invention of motion pictures and Thomas Edison

Muybridge's feat influenced inventors in several countries to work toward developing devices to record and represent movie images. These inventors included Thomas Armat, Thomas A. Edison, C. Francis Jenkins, and Woodville Latham in the United States; William Friese-Greene and Robert W. Paul in the United Kingdom; and the brothers Louis Jean and Auguste Lumière and Étienne-Jules Marey in France. Through their efforts, several different types of motion-picture cameras and projectors appeared in the mid-1890's.

Edison's company displayed the first commercial motion-picture machine at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Edison called his machine the kinetoscope. It was a cabinet showing unenlarged 35-millimeter black-and-white films running about 90 seconds. An individual watched through a peephole as the film moved on spools. Kinetoscope parlors opened in a number of cities. However, they were soon replaced by projection machines that threw greatly enlarged pictures on a screen. These new machines allowed many people to view a single film at the same time.

The Lumière brothers held a public screening of projected motion pictures on Dec. 28, 1895, in a Paris cafe. Edison, adapting a projector developed by Armat, presented the first public exhibition of projected motion pictures in the United States on April 23, 1896, in a New York City music hall.

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