See and Hear

See and Hear

See and Hear

See and Hear

Excerpt

Meanwhile a secret race to the screen was taking place. Probably the first to project, outside the Edison laboratories, was the late Major Woodville Latham, a hero of the Confederacy, from Virginia, who opened a flickering show at about 140 Broadway in May of 1895. Meanwhile in France, Louis and Auguste Lumière of Lyons, and Robert W. Paul of London achieved the screen, and in Washington, Thomas Armat brought forth a projector commercially shown in Atlanta in September, 1895. All of these machines were based on Edison's peep show Kinetoscope and used his films primarily.

Communication was slow then. When the showmen of New York began to demand a screen machine, the Edison agents, Raff & Gammon of New York, investigated Armat's invention, named it the Vitascope, and made a deal at West Orange to have it manufactured and offered as an Edison device--because the market looked to Edison, who was indeed the father of the motion picture.

The first showing was announced for April 20, 1896. The Vitascope was to be the last act on the variety, or vaudeville, program at Koster & Bial's Music Hall at Broadway and Thirty-fourth Street, New York. Delays, however, were to postpone the opening until the evening of April 23rd. The latter date is, therefore, recorded as the real birthday of the motion picture as a form of public entertainment.

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