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Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema$
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Ian Christie

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226105628

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226610115.001.0001

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Getting into the Picture Business

Getting into the Picture Business

(p.7) Chapter 1 Getting into the Picture Business
Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema

Ian Christie

University of Chicago Press

Edison’s kinetoscope, launched in 1893 after his success with the phonograph, continued the 19th century’s fascination with reproductive novelties, also typified by the stereoscope. Kinetoscopes, however, were expensive and cumbersome, encouraging entrepreneurs to look for cheaper ways of acquiring them, which led two Greeks, Georgiades and Trajedis, to commission Paul to build machines for them, since the kinetoscope was not patented outside the United States. When Edison refused to supply new films, Paul turned to a photographer, Birt Acres, to collaborate with him in creating a camera. With this, they made some sixteen films in early 1895, the first to be successfully exhibited in Britain, before parting company acrimoniously at the end of May. Thereafter they would give different accounts of responsibility for the camera, while both continuing to use the films it had made. Paul opened his own kinetoscope display near his workshop in Hatton Garden, followed by a larger number running at the Empire of India exhibition in Earls Court, which he later said led to considering how to make such entertainment more efficient.

Keywords:   kinetoscope, stereoscope, patent, Friese-Greene, Birt Acres, Earls Court, camera

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