Phantoscope

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Image of the Phantoscope from Scientific American 1896

The Phantoscope was a film projection machine, a creation of Charles Francis Jenkins. Created in the early 1890s, he projected the first motion picture before an audience in his hometown of Richmond, Indiana on June 6, 1894. He later met Thomas Armat who provided financial backing for necessary modifications. The two inventors unveiled their modified projector at the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, in September 1895.

Jenkin's machine was the first projector to allow each still frame of the film to be illuminated long enough before advancing to the next frame sequence. This was different from Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope, which simply ran a loop of film with successive images of a moving scene through the camera shutter, which gave a jumbled blur of motion. The Phantoscope, by pausing on each frame long enough for the brain to register a clear single picture, but replacing each frame in sequence fast enough (less than a tenth of a second), produced a smooth and true moving picture. It is from this concept that the entire motion-picture industry has grown.[1]

Only one working model was ever built by Jenkins, and it was stolen a few months later from his home by Armat, who sold it to the Gammon theater chain. After a lengthy court battle, Jenkins accepted $2,500 as payment in full.[2] The Franklin Institute awarded a gold medal to Jenkins for his invention as the world's first practical movie projector.

The U.S. Patent Office granted Jenkins a patent for his initial projector and Jenkins and Armat a patent for the modified version. (Both were named Phantoscopes) After Jenkins settled with Armat, Armat sold the whole patent to Thomas Alva Edison.[3] Jenkins continued improving the projector and created motion picture cameras which were eventually used for broadcasting to home receivers by radio waves, or what we know today as, television. Mechanically he broadcast the first television pictures and owned the first commercially licensed television station in the USA.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tube - The Invention of Television, David E. Fisher and Marshal Jon Fisher, 1996
  2. ^ Tube - The Invention of Television, David E. Fisher and Marshal Jon Fisher, 1996
  3. ^ [1] Kinetoscope at Machine_History.Com

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