Class 2: Edison, Nickelodeons, and the Trust

In today’s class, we surveyed the early inventions by Thomas Edison to make moving pictures possible, including the kinetograph, kinetoscope, and the vitascope. He had some help from the French Lumiere brothers who developed the cinematographe and the Latham Brothers and their famous Latham Loop.

Meanwhile, the movies were beginning to become formalized over the years. By 1905, the Nickelodeon era had formalized film screening and there were theaters devoted to only showing movies.

Edison consolidated power in the film industry through a cartel known as the Motion Picture Patents Company, partly enabled by the Latham Loop. They would reign over the film industry beginning in 1908 and would shut out any new competition.

Well, almost any new competition….

Since we didn’t get to screen it in class be sure you get a chance to watch Jack and the Beanstalk (1902)

Also, for a contemporary account of the Motion Picture Patents Company, read “Thomas Edison’s plot to hijack the movie industry” (via Arstechnica).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Lectures and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.