The Wonders of the Kinetoscope

Source: ‘The Wonders of the Kinetoscope’, Pall Mall Gazette, 18 October 1894, p. 7


Mr. Edison is the miracle worker of the modern age. The newest of his inventions was on view at 70, Oxford-street, last night. It is not an easy task to describe the kinetoscope, but here is a general suggestion of the thing. The Kinetoscope is, in the first instance, photography, many times multiplied in point of speed. By Mr. Edison’s invention the movements of a given body are taken at the rate of forty-five a second. These movements are transmitted to a celluloid film forty-three feet long, and underneath the film shines the electric light. The result to the looker-on is that all these movements are co-ordinated after the natural fashion, and a representation of ordinary human movements is obtained in a manner little short of marvellous – if that. The idea is to wed kinetoscopy to photography. By this means the action of a speaker as well as his words will be made plain to the audience, and a record may be preserved for future generations. The phonograph will store up the tones and the kinetoscope the action of the orator. Thus two centuries from now the oratory and the action of Lord Salisbury or Mr. Gladstone may be effectively present to the people of those days. Mr. Edison hopes to be able to throw the results of the kinetoscope upon the magic-lantern screen, and this, accompanied by the phonograph, will, in the language of the halls doubtless be “a great popular” success.

Comments: The Kinetoscope peepshow was previewed to the press on 17 October 1894 by Edison agents Maguire & Baucus at 70 Oxford Street, London, and opened to the public the following day. A sound recording exists of Gladstone’s voice, but the only film of him shows his funeral. Film exists of Lord Salisbury (the then Prime Minister), but not a sound recording of his voice.


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