The name of the original movie camera; a device that also served as a film projector and a printer.

Cinematograph is an early term describing the original movie camera. The so-called Cinematograph device also served as a film projector and as a printer. It was developed in the early 1890s in Lyon by the Lumière brothers.

The device was invented and patented as the "Cinématographe Léon Bouly" by French inventor Léon Bouly on February 12, 1892. Bouly coined the term "cinematograph," from the Greek for "writing in movement." Due to a lack of money, Bouly could not develop his ideas properly and maintain his patent fees, so he sold his rights to the device and name to the Lumière brothers. In 1895, they applied the name to a device that was mostly their own invention.

The Lumière brothers made their first film, Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory (Sortie de l'usine Lumière de Lyon), that same year. The first commercial, public screening of cinematographic films happened on 28 December 1895 at Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris and was organized by the Lumière brothers. This history-making presentation featured ten short films, including their first film, Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory. Each of these early films is 17 meters long (approximately 56 feet), which, when hand cranked through a projector, runs approximately 50 seconds.

The Cinématographe was also exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1900. At the Exposition, films made by the Lumière Brothers were projected onto a large screen measuring 16 by 21 meters (approximately 52.5 x 69 feet).

Several versions of cinématographes were developed, including ones by the inventor Robert Royou Beard (1856-1932), the electrical engineer Cecil Wray (1866-1944), the optician Alfred Wrench (?-?), Georges Demenÿ, and, of course, the Lumière brothers.

also known as
  • Kinematograph
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