Magic Shadows: The Story of the Origin of Motion Pictures

By Martin Quigley Jr. | Go to book overview
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XIII
THE LANGENHEIMS OF PHILADELPHIA

Brothers Langenheim perfect a System of printing photographs on glass slides permitting projection on the screen--Projectors are made by Duboscq in France; Wheatstone and Claudet in England; Brown and Heyl in the United States.

WLLIAM PENN'S "City of Brotherly Love", Philadelphia, was the home of several important American contributors to the magic shadow art-science. The first of these were two brothers, Frederic and William Langenheim.

William Langenheim came to the United States from Germany in 1834, the year Ebenezer Strong Snell, a professor at Amherst College, introduced in America the Plateau-Stampfer magic disks. Successively, he served in Texas during its war for independence from Mexico; was present at the recapture of the Alamo by American forces; was captured himself and sentenced to be shot; escaped, and served in the United States Army in the Second Florida Seminole War.

After three years of adventure, William decided in 1840 to settle in Philadelphia and enter business. He had his brother, Frederic, come to America to be his partner. Frederic Langenheim brought to his brother news of the latest developments in photography and they decided to embark upon that pursuit. The year before, 1839, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre ( 1789- 1851), in France, and William Henry Fox Talbot ( 1800- 1877), in England, had announced successful still pictures made with a modified

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