THE experiments which led up to the talkies had started almost immediately after the war. The development of electrical devices, the multiplicity of laboratories and the progress of radio had constituted a set of favorable conditions. By 1924 the principles that were to serve as a basis for sound-on-film recording, as opposed to the use of phonograph discs, had been clearly established and important solutions of the various problems had been discovered, though none of the results were capable of practical applications.* The electrical or radio concerns which had chiefly devoted themselves to these experiments were RCA, General Electric, Westinghouse and Bell Telephone Laboratories, as well as numerous private inventors. In the film world William Fox alone commissioned an engineer to pursue experiments of this kind.
At the beginning of 1926 the Bell Laboratories had perfected a synchronizing process called Vitaphone.† The inventors addressed themselves to Zukor and to his principal competitors, urging the purchase of their patents. These rulers of the American film world pondered, conferred and finally decided that the invention was of no interest. The Bell Laboratories approached____________________