The birth of film, as we know it, may have started with a device called “the wheel of life” or “zoopraxiscope” patented in 1867 by William Lincoln. Moving animated drawings or photographs could be seen through a slit in the machine.

The first motion picture camera is often credited to a Frenchman named Louis Lumiere in 1895. The Cinematographe was a portable motion-picture camera, film processing unit and projector all in one. He, along with his brother was the first to show projected, moving pictures to a paying audience.

However, the first to project film was the Edison Company in 1891. The Kinetoscope enabled one person at a time to view moving pictures. The Kinetoscope was improved to become the Vitascope in 1896. The Vitascope was the first commercially successful projector in the United States.

The late 19
th Century and early 20th century was an experimental time for film. The Nickelodeon became the popular venue, where for five cents an individual could see a short flicker show.

The movie business grew from the Nickelodeon novelty of the 1920’s into the fourth largest industry in America. Although the movies were silent, they had captured the imagination of the entire world. After WWI, the United States was going through huge technological and cultural breakthroughs with inventions and creations faster than any period in our history…mass communication in particular.

Originally based in New York, the film industry moved west to HollywoodLand around 1915. By the 1920’s Hollywood was on the rise and the world started to see its first Stars the likes of Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino and Mary Pickford to name a few. By 1928 the American film colony was producing over 500 feature length films each year for an audience of 100 million ticket buyers and 23 thousand theaters across the country. Hollywood had been firmly established as the film capital of the world.

From these humble beginnings we know the Movies of today. No longer the 12 minute celluloids but the 2-3 hour plus multimillion dollar extravaganzas.

Louis Lumiere was to have said that the cinema is an invention without a future. The film fans around the world would beg to differ.