First Movie Projector Demonstrated In US

On April 21, 1895, Woodville Latham and his sons, Otway, and grey demonstrate their “Panopticon,” the Movie projector developed within the. s.

Although motion pictures had been shown within the. s. for several years using Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope, the films could only be viewed one at a time in a very peep-show box, not projected to an oversized audience. Brothers Grey and Otway Latham, the founders of an organization that produced and exhibited films of prize fights using the Kinetoscope, called on their father, Woodville, and W.K.L. Dickson, an assistant within the Edison Laboratory, to assist them to develop a tool that will project life-sized images onto a screen so as to draw in larger audiences.

A former Confederate officer during the American warfare, Woodville Latham was also a chemistry professor at the University of WV for a time. along with Dickson and another former Edison employee, Eugene Lauste, Woodville came up with the so-called “Latham Loop”–a loop that was placed within the strip of the film just before it entered the gate of the camera so the projector could quickly pause to display the image and so advance the film, without pulling directly on the film strip and risking a tear. that easy innovation allowed the Lathams to film long sequences, like a complete prize fight, on one strip of film. This was a serious improvement over the Kinetoscope, whose jerky motion had cared-for tear any strip of film measuring over 100 feet.

“Panopticon Rivals the Kinetoscope” read the headline over a little report within the big apple Times on April 22, 1895. “Prof. Woodville Latham yesterday gave a personal exhibition of the workings of what he calls a Panopticon, which could be a combination of the kinetoscope and stereopticon, at 35 Frankfort Street. The effect is precisely like that of a kinetoscope, only that the photographs are much larger, and might be seen by an outsized number of individuals assembled within the darkened room.” That June, the elder Latham officially filed a missive of invitation for a patent for his “Projecting-Kinetoscope”.

Inspired by a Kinetoscope exhibition in Paris, another pair of brothers, the Frenchmen Auguste and Louis Lumière would invent their own motion-picture projector, the cinematographer, by the tip of 1895. Projected movies were first shown to paying audiences starting the subsequent year, usually as a part of a vaudeville show. the primary theater devoted solely to projected movies, the electrical Theater in la, opened in 1902. 

But a year after the Lathams’ demonstration, Thomas Armat used away like the Latham Loop to develop a state-of-the-art projector he would sell to Edison, who marketed the machine because of the Vitascope. Even in present-day Hollywood, versions of the famous loop are often found in every film camera and projector.

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