Many believe that the story first began in America in 1877, when two friends were arguing over whether a horse ever had all four feet or hooves off the ground when it galloped. To settle the bet, a photographer was asked to photograph a horse galloping and the bet was settled because you could see that all the hooves were off the ground in some of the photos. What was even more interesting was that if the photos were shown in quick succession the horse looked like it was running - in other words 'moving pictures'.
The person who became interested in taking the moving pictures to its next step was the famous American inventor Thomas Edison. Actually, he didn't do the work himself but rather asked a young Scotsman in his employ to design a system, which he did. Now this young fellow was clever because the first thing he did was study other systems - primitive as they were - of moving pictures and then put all the existing technologies together to make the first entire motion picture system. He designed a camera, a projection device and the film. The system was first shown in New York in 1894 and was really very popular. Apparently people lined up around the block to see the wonderful new invention. There were, however, a couple of problems with the system. The camera weighed over 200 kilograms and only one person at a time could see the film.
Well now, news of the new system in America travelled fast and a number of rival European systems started to appear once people had heard about it. The single problem with all the systems was they couldn't really project the film onto a Screen - you know, so more than one person could see it. Then in 1895, three systems were all developed, more or less at the same time and independently of each other. I guess the most famous of these was by the Lum ere Brothers from France, and they called their system the cinematographe which of course is where the word cinema comes from. There were also two brothers in Germany who developed a successful system and they called it a bioskop.
Well now, once the problem of projection had been solved, the next challenge for the inventors was to make the films longer and more interesting. A continuing problem at the time was that the films had a tendency to break when they were being played - a problem which was caused by the tension between the two wheels, or 'reels' as they are called, which hold the film. Now this problem was solved by two American brothers. They developed the 'Lantham Loop', which was the simple addition of a third reel between the two main reels, and this took all the tension away with the result that the film stopped snapping.
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