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1889 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.

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January 8  Dr Hermann Hollerith patents the tabulating machine in the US.  
January  Columbia Graphophone Company is founded as the UK offshoot of the Columbia Phonograph Company. < Graphophone, 1886
January   Experiments in the photo-electric power of sunlight and diffused daylight are conducted by Wiedermann at Wolfenbuttel.  
May 30  Thomas Edison's British-born photographic assistant William Kennedy Laurie Dickson (1860-1935) orders one of the newly announced Kodak cameras from the Eastman company. It uses film 2¾ inches (70mm) wide; slitting this in two produces the 35mm width adopted for moving picture developments.  
June 21  British portrait photographer William Friese-Greene [right]  is granted a patent for the first cinematograph camera specifically designed to use perforated celluloid film. The camera can take only four or five images per second. An imaginative version of his story is told in the 1951 film The Magic Box.  
August 13  Patent is granted to William Gray of Hartford, Connecticut for a coin-operated telephone box > 1891
August 27  Eastman Kodak creates the first roll film using a celluloid substrate, developed for the company by Henry Reichenbach. See also December 10
  Edison meets Marey while in Paris to visit Universal Exhibition; he may have conceived the idea of using roll film as a result.  
autumn  Four hydraulic pressing plants are shipped from Berliner's plant at Camden, New Jersey, to Hannover, Germany, where the Gramophone Company is to establish a factory.  
October 6  W K L Dickson makes a film of himself saying ‘Good morning, Mr Edison. How do you like this?’—almost certainly the first ‘sound film’ production. The image size is 1 inch wide and ¾ inch high—determined by the space between perforations down the edges of the transparent film 1.375 inches wide (half the standard width of photographic film). Dickson’s preference to work in ¼ inch increments (despite having 64 perforations per linear foot) overcomes his wish to approximate the golden section ratio.  
November 23  A ‘jukebox’ is installed at the Palais Royal Saloon, San Francisco, consisting of an Edison phonograph with four coin-operated listening tubes.  
December 10  George Eastman is granted a patent for flexible celluloid film, which he developed with his chemist, Henry M Reichenbach See also August 27
•  First commercial gramophones and records manufactured in Europe are made by a German toy factory. [in Hannover?]  
•  Columbia Phonograph Company is the only distribution franchisee of North American Phonograph Company to declare a dividend, mainly earned from servicing government departments in Washington with phonographs for use as dictation machines.  
•  Louis Ducos du Hauron proposes the Polyfolium Chromodialytique concept of a triple-layer (tripack) colour film in which each layer of emulsion is responsive to one of the three primary colours. Neither the chemistry or materials available at this time permit the realisation of the idea.  
•  Lazare Weiller devises a scanning mechanism, similar to the one later used by John Logie Baird, using revolving mirrors reflecting light images onto a selenium cell.  
•  Le Prince develops a single-lens motion picture camera.  
•  Oskar Messter develops a projector using a Maltese Cross shutter mechanism.  
•  Danish inventor Valdemar Poulsen invents and patents a magnetic recorder.  
•  Julius Elster and Hans Geitel observe that some electropositive metals (such as sodium, caesium and rubidium) show photoelectric activity when illuminated by ordinary light.  
•  Almon B Strowger’s ‘automatic’ telephone switching device invented.  
•  Trials of public telephony are conducted between Tokyo and Atami in Japan.  
•  Emile Berliner licenses his gramophone system to Kämmerer & Reinhardt, toy manufacturers of Waltershausen, Germany. The company manufactures miniature hand-cranked gramophones as novelty items. In the UK they sell for 2gns (£2.10) and come with six of the five-inch discs made of rubber or celluloid. The products stay on the market for no more than three years.  
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Page updated 14 November 2008
© David Fisher