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Flickering EmpireHow Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry$
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Michael Glover Smith and Adam Selzer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231174497

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231174497.001.0001

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Edison’s Kinetoscope and Pre-Motion-Picture Entertainment

Edison’s Kinetoscope and Pre-Motion-Picture Entertainment

(p.9) Chapter One Edison’s Kinetoscope and Pre-Motion-Picture Entertainment
Flickering Empire

Michael Glover Smith

Adam Selzer

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the role of Thomas Edison in the invention of the motion-picture camera and the establishment of Chicago's film industry. Although Chicago may not have been the center of the film world in the very beginning, two factors guaranteed that it would become just that in the decade prior to the rise of Hollywood: the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the megalomania of Edison. The phonograph, introduced in 1877, was the first of Edison's inventions to truly capture the public's imagination. His Kinetograph, the camera used to create film for the Kinetoscope, was based on his conception of the phonograph cylinder. The Columbian Exposition, the massive “World's Fair” that put Chicago on the map in 1893, was originally planned by Edison to be the event that would introduce the movies to the world.

Keywords:   motion-picture camera, film industry, Chicago, Columbian Exposition, phonograph, movies, Kinetograph, Kinetoscope, Thomas Edison

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