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1903 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.


links and notes
January 5  Pacific underwater telephone cable is brought into public use between San Francisco and Hawaii.  
January 18  Marconi's third North American wireless station at South Wellfleet on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, sends 2,000 word signal, including a message from President Theodore Roosevelt, to the station at Glace Bay, Canada for onward transmission to Poldhu, England, but it is received directly—the first eastward transatlantic radio transmission.  
March  Georges Méliès' Star Film Company, whose Voyage dans la lune has enjoyed a major success in US vaudeville film shows (often in pirated copies), opens a New York distribution office and printing laboratory, run by his brother Gaston. The films in the company's catalogue are registered for copyright. During this year Méliès begins to use two cameras simultaneously to produce two master negatives, one each for print making in France and the US.  
•  In its 1902/03 financial year, UK's Gramophone and Typewriter Company makes £252,285 net profit, equivalent to £16m in 2001.  
April 30  Victor Records' first Red Seal recording, by contralto Ada Crossley, is made.  
•  Cecil Hepworth's British production of Alice in Wonderland, directed by Percy Stow, consisting of 16 scenes based on Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations, is the earliest known literary film adaptation and, at 800 feet, the longest film to date. > 1926
The film is included as an 'extra' on a BFI video release of Jonathan Miller's 1966 version of Alice in Wonderland. Click on bullet for details
September 21  First two known westerns—Kit Carson and The Pioneers—are copyrighted in the US.  
September 26  New Zealand Wireless Telegraphy Act receives the Royal Assent from the Governor of New Zealand. It is a pre-emptive move to give the state a monopoly on wireless operations as at this time there is no activity. The penalty for unauthorised wireless transmission or reception is £500. > 1904
October  First Japanese cinema (denki-kan, electric theatre) opens in Asakusa, Tokyo.  
November 2  Daily Mirror is founded in London by Alfred Harmsworth as a women's paper costing 1d (0.42p). The first issue sells 265,217 copies. It becomes the first newspaper to rely exclusively on photography for illustrations.  
November 7  Léon Gaumont demonstrates his first sound film to Société de Photographie in Paris.  
December 1  Edwin S Porter’s The Great Train Robbery, with a storyline pioneering dramatic close-up (but see 1900), is copyrighted in US by the Edison Company. Regarded as the first classic Western (but see September 21), it is shot on the Delaware and Lackawanna Western Railroad near Paterson, New Jersey and features 'Bronco Billy' Anderson and three Baldwin 4-4-0 locomotives. The flimsy sets and often crude acting are significantly inferior in these respects to the quality of Hepworth's Alice in Wonderland.  
December 17  First successful powered flight of a heavier-than-air machine by the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, is captured on film at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  
•  Biograph Studio—first in US with artificial light—opens at 11 East 14th Street, New York.  
•  First Danish fiction film is Henrettelsen, made by the royal photographer, Peter Elfelt.  
•  Charles Urban leaves the Warwick Trading Company to set up his own Charles Urban Trading Company to make and sell cinema equipment and films. Having already assisted Edward Turner in the development of a three-colour film system, for which a camera has been designed and built by Alfred Darling in Brighton, he buys up the patents when Turner dies suddenly. Urban interests George Albert Smith in pursuing the project. Brighton film history
•  Pathé introduces stencil colouring of film prints at its Vincennes factory, Paris. > 1906
•  Pathé camera trackPathé develops a primitive version of tracks for moving film shots, the camera and cameraman being in a wardrobe-like cabinet on rails.  
late  La Bonne Presse launches a monthly magazine to promote its cause of learning through images, now encompassing moving pictures. [0068] > 1905
•  First Japanese film production company is Komatsu.  
•  Edvard Grieg records some of his piano miniatures at The Gramophone Company's studio in Paris.  
•  First shellac gramophone record is made by Nicole Frères, using a cardboard substrate.  
•  First 12-inch gramophone record is released by the Monarch label.  
•  Complete recording of Giuseppi Verdi's opera Ernani is issued as a set of 40 discs.  
•  Telegraphone Company is incorporated to produce a steel wire magnetic recorder. > 1907 
•  Boots Booklovers' LibraryBy now Boots has a Booklovers' Library in 143 of its 300 stores. Subscribers pay 10s 6d a year for one book at a time, rising to £2 2s 0d for six books, plus 7s for each additional volume.  
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Page updated 27 March 2009
© David Fisher