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1888 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.


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January 10  Le Prince is granted a US patent (no 376247) for a 16-lens motion picture camera and projector. > October
April 24  Eastman Kodak Company is founded by George Eastman (1854-1932). Within a year he perfects and markets the first affordable camera using roll film.  
May 3  Kodak name is registered in the UK. cf September 4
May 16  Flat gramophone disc is demonstrated by Emile Berliner to members of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. His technique involves coating a zinc disc with a wax resist into which the stylus cuts the recording. The disc is then etched in acid to cut the recording into the zinc. Berliner intends to use the electrotyping process to make copies of the zinc master disc and demonstrates a copper duplicate.  
June 16  Edison listening to the phonographAllegedly after five solid days and nights of work, Edison and his associates complete a prototype of an improved phonograph. Like the Bell and Tainter graphophone, it now has an electric motor and uses wax cylinders. The event is commemorated in one of the most famous photographs associated with invention.  
June 29  Edison's foreign sales agent, Colonel George Gouraud, makes a cylinder recording in the Crystal Palace, London of a 4,000-strong choir performing Handel's Israel in Egypt at a distance of more than 100 yards from the phonograph. Until 2008 this is the oldest known music recording.
July 14  North American Phonograph Company is founded by Jesse Lippincott to market phonographs and graphophones. The company sells regional franchises to lease equipment, sharing the $40 annual rental per machine with the franchisee. Lippincott, a Pittsburgh businessman, who has just made $1m from the sale of his controlling stake in the Rochester Tumbler Company, spends $200,000  to become sole licensee of the American Graphophone Company, which continues to make players that Lippincott markets. Shortly after, Lippincott spends $500,000 on acquiring Edison’s patents in the phonograph, although Edison retains manufacturing rights. This gives Lippincott control of the entire US cylinder sound recording business. However, Lippincott shares Edison’s view of the  invention as a dictating machine. Columbia Phonograph Company, which services the District of Columbia, Delaware and Maryland area, is one of 30 licensees.  
August   First photography on film by John Carbutt in the USA, using Kodak equipment invented by George Eastman.  
September 4  Kodak name is registered in the USA. cf May 3
  Edison meets Muybridge and becomes interested in developing a visual recording machine similar to the Zoöpraxiscope.  
October 17  Edison files a caveat at the US Patent Office for an optical phonograph, with images only 1/32 inch wide. Edison's claim is that it will  'do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear'.
October   Click on picture to see Le Prince's films on the NMPFT website.Le Prince shoots experimental film footage in Leeds, England, on paper strips 54mm wide and projected using a Maltese cross mechanism. Some of these films can be viewed on and downloaded from the website of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television [Click on picture for link].
•  Charles-Emile Reynaud devises and demonstrates the Théâtre Optique projection device, also known as Pantomimes lumineuses. Animated images are projected from long celluloid strips of hand-drawn coloured images, with perforations for registration purposes. > 1893
•  Edison attempts to raise capital for phonograph development from New York investment bank J & W Seligman & Company but failure of the working model to work leads nowhere. > 1926 December 7
•  Wordsworth Donnisthorpe and W C Crofts make a film camera that takes pictures in a circular frame. > 1891
  Electric motor, using AC power, is invented by Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) in US.  
•  Pianist Josef Hofmann, aged 12, visits Edison’s laboratories and makes some phonograph cylinder recordings—the first by a recognised performer. Soon after, celebrated conductor Hans von Bülow faints when he hears the playback of a Chopin mazurka he has just recorded. A Punch cartoon satirises this idea.
•  Wilhelm Hallwachs develops Heinrich Hertz's work on the photoelectric effect, observing that when illuminated with ultraviolet light, a negative charged, well-insulated body loses its charge.  
  Heinrich Hertz demonstrates the practical possibility of radio transmission.  
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Page updated 14 November 2008
© David Fisher