Cinema Antecedents

First Photograph:
View from the Window at le Gras, Joseph Nicephore Niépce, June/July 1826

Original metal plate.

Enhanced version by Helmut Gersheim, created ca. 1952. (More information.)

The Daguerreotype: Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre.
L’Atelier de l’artiste, first stable Daguerrotype--created in 1837 and made public on 7 January 1839.
Portrait of Daguerre, 1844

Boulevard du Temple
"Boulevard du Temple", by Daguerre (late 1838 or early 1839).
Source: Wikipedia.

First commercially-manufactured camera,
the Giroux Daguerreotype camera

More information.

Early Motion Pictures

Louis Aimée Augustin Le Prince

First Film Experiments
Le Prince was a Frenchman, working in Leeds, UK. Recorded images on paper film (not celluloid):

Le Prince cameraLe Prince camera
Le Prince single-lens camera (Type-1 MkII, 1888), with viewfinder lens at top.
Source: E. Kilburn Scott, The Career of L. A. A. Le Prince.

Films from October 1888:

Thomas Edison

Edison's Black Maria Studio, East Orange, NJ, circa 1895

Kinetoscope Parlor, circa 1895

Kinetoscope Mechanism

Advertisement for Edison Films and Projecting Kinetoscopes. The Moving Picture World, June 15, 1907, p. 242.(1)

Sample Edison Films

Auguste & Louis Lumière

August and Louis Lumière
Circa 1914: Auguste on the left, Louis on the right.
Source: Wikipedia.


click to enlarge
Cinématographe as a projector.
Source: Bernard Chardère, ''Les Lumière'', Payot Lausanne, 1985; Credits: Archives Château Lumière, via Wikipedia.

Cinématographe Film

First Public Screening, Admission Charged
List of films

28 December 1895, Salon Indien du Grand Café, Paris
The first 10 films (links below are to YouTube videos provided by L’Institut Lumière; see also selected films on Vimeo)

  1. La Sortie de l'Usine Lumière à Lyon / Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory (Lyon) - 46 seconds
  2. La Voltige / Horse Trick Riders- 46 seconds
  3. La Pêche aux poissons rouges / Fishing for Goldfish - 42 seconds
  4. Le Débarquement du Congrès de Photographie à Lyon / Congress of Photographers - 48 seconds
  5. Les Forgerons / Blacksmiths - 49 seconds
  6. Le Jardinier (l'Arroseur arrosé) / The Gardener - 49 seconds (screenshots)
  7. Le Repas (de bébé) / Feeding the Baby - 41 seconds
  8. Le Saut à la couverture / Jumping Onto the Blanket - 41 seconds
  9. La Place des Cordeliers à Lyon / Cordeliers Square (Lyon) - 44 seconds
  10. La Mer / The Sea - 38 seconds

Other Lumière Inventions Include the Autochrome Lumière (Color Photograph)

Christina O'Gorman (circa 1910)

French soldier eating lunch, during World War I (circa 1915).

Georges Méliès (1861-1938)

Source: several Méliès illustrations are from La couleur retrouvée du Voyage dans la Lune, by the Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage.

A Trip to the Moon
Trip to the Moon
A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Méliès Studio Méliès studio

Inside the studio Sets at the studio
Star Film Company studio, Montreuil-sous-Bois, Paris, France.

Melies's shop
Méliès's shop in the Montparnasse Métro stop: "confectionery and toys."

Méliès in Popular Culture


The Nickelodeon (beginning in 1905)

The Nickelodeon Theater in Pittsburgh, the first nickelodeon in the United States. It was opened on June 19, 1905 by Harry Davis and John P. Harris and helped spark the fashion for 5-cent theaters.
Sources: The Community of Cinema: How Cinema and Spectacle Transformed the American Downtown by James Forsher (left) and The Moving Picture World, November 30, 1907 (right, 1).