19th century in film
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- 1826 - Nicephore Niepce takes the first known photograph in history. (See View from the Window at Le Gras)
- 1832 - Joseph Plateau (Belgium) and Simon von Stampfer (Vienna) introduce simultaneously a scientific demonstration device that creates an optical illusion of movement by mounting drawings on the face of a slotted, spinning disk. Plateau's version was variously known as the "Phenakistoscope", "Phenakistiscope", "Fenakisticope" or "Fantascope", while Stampfer's version became known as the Stroboscope. The device, originally developed to demonstrate "persistence of vision", was soon marketed as a novelty toy.
- 1834 - The Zoetrope is invented. The device was a hollow drum with a strip of pictures around its inner surface. When the drum was spun and the pictures viewed through slots on the side of the drum, the pictures appeared to move. The device was first marketed only in the second half of the 1860s when several patents were taken. It was known as "Zoetrope", "Zootrope", "Wheel of Life", etc.
- 1870s - French inventor Charles-Émile Reynaud improved on the Zoetrope idea by placing mirrors at the center of the drum. He called his invention the Praxinoscope. Reynaud developed other versions of the Praxinoscope too, including a Praxinoscope Theatre, where the device was enclosed in a viewing box, and the Projecting Praxinoscope. Eventually he created the "Théâtre Optique", a large machine based on the Praxinoscope, but able to project longer animated strips. In the USA, the McLoughlin Bros from New York released in 1879 a simplified (and unauthorized) copy of Reynaud's invention under the name "Whirligig of Life".
- 1878 – Railroad tycoon Leland Stanford hires British photographer Eadweard Muybridge to settle a bet on whether a galloping horse ever had all four of its feet off the ground. Muybridge successfully photographed a horse in fast motion using a series of 12 cameras controlled by trip wires. Muybridge's photos showed the horse with all four feet off the ground. Muybridge went on a lecture tour showing his photographs on a moving-image device he called the zoopraxiscope. Muybridge's experiments inspired French scientist Étienne-Jules Marey to invent equipment for recording and analyzing animal and human movement. Marey called his invention the chronophotographic camera, which was able to take multiple images superimposed on top of one another.
- 1879 - American George Eastman invents an emulsion-coating machine which enables the mass production of photographic dry plates.
- 1880 - American George Eastman begins to commercially manufacture dry plates for photography.
- 1880 - Eadweard Muybridge holds a public demonstration of his Zoopraxiscope, a magic lantern provided with a rotating disc with artist's renderings of Muybridge's chronophotographic sequences. It was used as a demonstration device by Muybridge in his illustrated lecture (the original preserved in the Museum of Kingston upon Thames in England).
- January 1, 1881 - American inventor George Eastman founds the Eastman Dry Plate Company.
- 1882 - American inventor George Eastman begins experimenting with new types of photographic film, with his employee, William Walker.
- 1882 - French physiologist Étienne-Jules Marey invents the chronophotographic gun, a camera shaped like a rifle that photographs twelve successive images each second.
- 1885 - American inventors George Eastman and Hannibal Goodwin each invent a sensitized celluloid base roll photographic film to replace the glass plates then in use.
- 1887 - Hannibal Goodwin files for a patent for his photographic film.
- 1888 - George Eastman files for a patent for his photographic film.
- 1888 Thomas Edison meets with Eadweard Muybridge to discuss adding sound to moving pictures. Edison begins his own experiments.
- 1888 - Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince creates the first motion picture films created on paper rolls of film.
- 1889 – American inventor George Eastman's celluloid base roll photographic film becomes commercially available.
- June 1889 or November 1890 – William K. L. Dickson, working for Thomas Edison, creates the first known motion picture films shot in the United States, the Monkeyshines films.
- 1891 – Designed around the work of Muybridge, Marey, and Eastman, Thomas Edison's employee William K. L. Dickson finishes work on a motion-picture camera, called the Kinetograph, and a viewing machine, called the Kinetoscope.
- May 20, 1891 - Thomas Edison holds the first public presentation of his Kinetoscope for the National Federation of Women's Clubs.
- August 24, 1891 – Thomas Edison files for a patent of the Kinetoscope.
- 1892 – In France, Charles-Émile Reynaud began to have public screenings in Paris at the Théâtre Optique, with hundreds of drawings on a reel that he wound through his Zoetrope projector to construct moving images that continued for 15 minutes.
- 1892 – The Eastman Company becomes the Eastman Kodak Company.
- March 14, 1893 – Thomas Edison is granted Patent #493,426 for "An Apparatus for Exhibiting Photographs of Moving Objects" (The Kinetoscope).
- 1893 – Thomas Edison builds a motion-picture studio near his laboratory, dubbed the "Black Maria" by his staff.
- May 9, 1893 – In America, Thomas Edison holds the first public exhibition of films shot using his Kinetograph at the Brooklyn Institute. Only one person at a time could use his viewing machine, the Kinetoscope.
- January 7, 1894 – Thomas Edison films his assistant Fred Ott sneezing with the Kinetoscope at the "Black Maria".
- April 14, 1894 – The first commercial presentation of the Kinetoscope took place in the Holland Brothers' Kinetoscope Parlor at 1155 Broadway, New York City.
- 1894 - Kinetoscope viewing parlors begin to open in major cities. Each parlor contains several machines.
- 1895 - In France, brothers named Auguste and Louis Lumière design and build a lightweight, hand-held motion picture camera called the Cinématographe. The Lumière brothers discover that their machine can also be used to project images onto a large screen. The Lumière brothers created several short films at this time that are considered to be pivotal in the history of motion pictures.
- November 1895 – In Germany, Emil and Max Skladanowsky develop their own film projector.
- December 1895 – In France, Auguste and Louis Lumière hold their first public screening of films shot with their Cinématographe.
- January 1896 – In Britain, Birt Acres and Robert W. Paul develop their own film projector, the Theatrograph (later known as the Animatograph).
- January 1896 – In the United States, a projector called the Vitascope is designed by Charles Francis Jenkins and Thomas Armat. Armat began working with Thomas Edison to manufacture the Vitascope, which projected motion pictures.
- April 1896 – Thomas Edison and Thomas Armat's Vitascope is used to project motion pictures in public screenings in New York City
- 1896 – French magician and filmmaker Georges Méliès begins experimenting with the new motion picture technology, developing many early special effects techniques, including stop-motion photography.
- 1897 – 125 people die during a film screening at the Charity Bazaar in Paris after a curtain catches on fire from the ether used to fuel the projector lamp.
- 1899 – Pathé-Frères is founded.
- April 9, 1830 – Eadweard Muybridge, English photographer
- July 12, 1854 – George Eastman, American entrepreneur, founded the Eastman Kodak Company, inventor of roll film
- February 20, 1860 – Karl Mantzius, Danish actor, theatre director, writer
- December 20, 1861 – Ferdinand Bonn, German stage and film actor
- July 3, 1869 – Svend Kornbeck, Danish actor
- February 23, 1868 – Anna Hoffman-Uddgren, Swedish actress
- November 9, 1868 – Marie Dressler, Canadian-American actress
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