The Patent for First Motion Picture

January 7th Celebrates The Patent for First Motion Picture

Today on Days to Remember we celebrate how on January 7th 1894, W.K. Dickson received a patent for motion picture film.

Who was W.K. Dickson?

Known as William Kennedy Laurie Dickson was a Scottish inventor who devised an early motion picture camera under the employment of Thomas Edison.

Born in France, in 1879 at age 19 William Dickson wrote a letter to Thomas Edison trying to seek employment with the inventor. He was turned down.

That same year Dickson, his mother, and two sisters moved from Britain to Virginia.

In 1883 he was finally hired to work at Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory. In 1888, American inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison conceived of a device that would do “for the Eye what the phonograph does for the Ear”.

In October, Edison filed a preliminary claim, known as a caveat, with the US Patent Office outlining his plans for the device. In March 1889, a second caveat was filed, in which the proposed motion picture device was given a name, the Kinetoscope.

Dickson, then the Edison Company’s official photographer, was assigned to turn the concept into a reality.

Dickson invented the first practical celluloid film for this application. He slit a medium format roll film, which is 70 mm wide, and perforated the resultant 35 mm film, a standard format which is still in use to this day in cine and still photography.

In late 1894 or early 1895, Dickson became an ad hoc advisor to the motion picture operation of the Latham brothers, Otway and Grey, and their father, Woodville, who ran one of the leading Kinetoscope exhibition companies.

Seeking to develop a movie projector system, they hired former Edison employee Eugene Lauste, probably at Dickson’s suggestion, which in turn 1894, W.K. Dickson received a patent for motion picture film.

Wow what incredible story, how that all came about?

The faith of one’s man perception is like Wi Fi, it may be invisible to us at first but comes visible to us when we need it most.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell
jdmitchelldesigns@gmail.com

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