Story Behind Inventors and Inventions Home-movie Camera
About the origins, history and story behind the scenes of the inventor and invention of home-movie camera.
Extraordinary Stories behind Ordinary Objects That Had to Be Invented by Someone
Invention: Home-movie camera
Inventors: Etienne Jules Marey, France; George Eastman, U.S.; Thomas Edison, U.S.; et al.
How Invented: The idea of making pictures move spread through Europe like the plague in the 1880s, especially in France. Every inventor seemed to be working on his own system. The first success was the "photographic gun," invented in 1882 by Marey. It looked like a rifle with a disk of photographic paper that revolved in an oversized chamber, moving one frame with every squeeze of the trigger. Its application was limited, however, and though Marey improved his system continually through 1888, when he developed the Chronophotographe, which could take 60 pictures per second, he was limited because his medium--coated paper--could not be projected. In 1889 Eastman developed a nitrocellulose film for "roller photography" that revolutionized filmmaking. His is one of the few advances that can be clearly attributed to one person. Edison patented his Kinetoscope in 1891 but allowed it to remain idle for three years. By the time he started marketing it, he had spent half his time fighting patent intrusions and foreign systems. Ideas were passed around like baseball cards, but out of the chaos emerged, somehow, a standard system that, from the first, was adaptable for home use. The first system offered for sale to amateurs was the Amateur-Kinetograph in Oskar Messter's October, 1897, sales catalog. The Berliner's catalog also offered 84 Messter-produced films.
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