Thanhouser Company

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The Thanhouser Company (later the Thanhouser Film Corporation) was one of the first motion picture studios, founded in 1909 by Edwin Thanhouser. It operated until 1918.[1]

Production still showing how three or more silent film scenes could be simultaneously filmed under the glass roof of the Thanhouser studio, c. 1914. Visible are actors in costume, directors, cameramen, sets, a Klieglight, and four Pathé silent film cameras

Thanhouser produced over 1,000 silent films. Among these were:

  • The Cry of the Children: Selected in 2011 by the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry, which recognizes films for their cultural, historical and aesthetic significance.[2] The Film Preservation Board described this two-reel melodrama from 1912, part of which was filmed in a working textile mill, as a "key work" in relation to the U.S. movement for child labor reform in the years before World War I. According to the Film Preservation Board, an "influential critic of the time" called it "the boldest, most timely and most effective appeal for the stamping out of the cruelest of all social abuses."[2]
  • The Evidence of the Film: A 15-minute film from 1913, among the 25 films selected for the National Film Registry in 2001[3]
  • When the Studio Burned: On January 13, 1913 (three days after the release of The Evidence of the Film), the main facility of the Thanhouser studio in New Rochelle, New York burned to the ground. Most of the negatives in the studio's film library were saved. However, in the scramble to save lives, business files and the film library, none of the company's cameramen were able to set up their equipment until after the studio was a smoldering ruin. Thanks to Thanhouser's recent acquisitions of production facilities in Los Angeles and Chicago, the studio was able to produce this 14 minute fictional film about the fire. The film, which included many of the studio's stars appearing as themselves recreating their escape from the fire, was released on February 4, 1913.[4]



  1. ^ Bellamy Pailthorp (November 11, 2009). "From The Vaults, A Look At Early Indie-Movie History". All Things Considered (National Public Radio). 
  2. ^ a b "2011 National Film Registry More Than a Box of Chocolates". December 28, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Librarian of Congress Names 25 More Films to National Film Registry". December 18, 2001. 
  4. ^ "When the Studio Burned". 2011 [1913]. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 

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