Edison’s First Movie Projector: A Phonograph for Pictures

Optical_PhonographToday in 1888, Thomas Edison filed a patent for the first movie projector, the “Optical Phonograph,” which projected images just 1/32-inch across.  Steven Lubar in InfoCulture: “Thomas Edison was thinking about the phonograph when he decided to invent a moving picture machine. He was used to working by analogy with earlier inventions: the movie camera and projector would just be a phonograph for pictures. The phonograph had recorded sound vibrations on tracks around the edges of a cylinder, and Edison thought that the pictures could be recorded in the same way. In his early drawing he suggested ways of putting a series of tiny photographs onto a cylinder recording. ‘I am experimenting upon an instrument which does for the Eye what the phonograph does for the Ear,’ he wrote in a patent caveat.”

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This entry was posted in consumer electronics history, Film, Patents, Recorded sound, This day in information. Bookmark the permalink.

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