Fred Ott's Sneeze

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Fred Ott's Sneeze
Fred Ott Sneeze L.gif
Directed by William K.L. Dickson
Produced by William K.L. Dickson
Starring Fred Ott
Distributed by Edison Manufacturing Company
Release date
  • January 9, 1894 (1894-01-09)
Running time
5 seconds
Country United States
Language Silent

Fred Ott's Sneeze (also known as Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze) is an 1894 American, short, black-and-white, silent documentary film shot by William K.L. Dickson and starring Fred Ott. It was the first motion picture to be copyrighted in the United States.[1]

In the five-second film one of Thomas Edison's assistants, Fred Ott, takes a pinch of snuff and sneezes. According to the Library of Congress, "It was filmed for publicity purposes as a series of still photographs to accompany an article in Harper's Weekly."[2]

In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."[3]


The film was produced by the Edison Manufacturing Company, which had begun making films in 1890 under the direction of Dickson, one of the earliest film pioneers. It was filmed within the Black Maria studio at West Orange, New Jersey, in the USA, which was U.S. first movie studio. It was filmed between January 2, 1894 and January 7, 1894[2] and was displayed, at the time, through the means of a Kinetoscope.

Current status[edit]

45 paper prints made from individual frames of the film.

As a film produced prior to 1923, its copyright has now expired and the work is in the public domain. Originally, the film was submitted to the Library of Congress as a "paper print" (a photographic record of each frame of the film) for copyright purposes. A digital copy is now kept by the Library of Congress and can be viewed on their American Memory website.[2] This short film has been featured at The 30th Annual Academy Awards, and was included as part of the TV documentary. The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Sneeze Caught on Film". American Treasures of the Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "Library of Congress American Memory". Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  3. ^ Mike Barnes (December 16, 2015). "'Ghostbusters,' 'Top Gun,' 'Shawshank' Enter National Film Registry". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 16, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Internet Movie Database Movie Connections". Retrieved 2007-03-17. 

External links[edit]