Individual media Reference department
Quotations department Media department Reference department
< previous | next >
1907 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.


links and notes
January 26  Riots break out at the premiere of J M Synge's play The Playboy of the Western World at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and continue throughout the following week. The focus of offence to Irish modesty: 'It's Pegeen I'm seeking only, and what'd I care if you brought me a drift of chosen females, standing in their shifts itself, maybe, from this place to the eastern world.'  
February 17  Bell & Howell company is incorporated in Chicago, founded by projectionist Daniel H Bell and engineer Albert S Howell. (Bell sells out his share in 1917.) First product: the Kinedrome projector.  
February 22  Central Hall, a purpose-built cinema, is opened in Colne, Lancashire, England by the Premier Picture Company, run by Joshua Duckworth. It remains in use as a cinema until the advent of sound in 1927. The building still stands (in 2002).  
March 2  First dramatic short films made in Austria are a scene from the opera Ein Walzertraum and a Saturn production, In der Garderobe (In the Wardrobe).  
March 9  First dedicated film trade paper in the US, Motion Picture World, is first published > 1927 December 31
March  Edison partly wins a lawsuit against Biograph for infringement of rights to use Edison film cameras but this does not apply to perforated film.  
April 7  US entertainment trade paper Billboard introduces a regular 'Moving Picture Shows' column to report on the burgeoning nickelodeon market.  
April  Edison and Pathé open negotiations, mediated by a London patent lawyer (G Gordon-Marks), with Edison threatening to sue over Pathé's plans to set up a film duplication plant at Bound Brook, New Jersey but also offering to print and sell Pathé films in the US and even offering Pathé exclusive rights to sell Edison films in Europe. Over a month later it is revealed that Edison would insist on selecting and limiting the number of Pathé filme released in the US.  
spring  Second Finnish film company formed—Pohjoismaiden Biografi Komppania (Nordic Biograph Company)—which produced 49 shorts and two features between 1907 and 1916.  
•  Première of L’Enfant prodigue (The Prodigal Child), the first European film running more than an hour (90 mins), made by Marcel Carré by photographing the stage version and shown at Théâtre des Variétés, boulevard Montmartre, Paris.  
May 11  France and Germany reach agreement on the mutual protection of intellectual property.  
May  Moving Picture World estimates there are 2,500-3,000 '5-cent theaters' (nickelodeons) in the US.  
•  In Chicago, admissions to nickelodeons reach as many as 100,000 people a day—more than five per cent of the city's population.  
May  Around 300 film negatives are stolen from Georges and Gaston Méliès' New York duplication plant.  
May  The Eclair film company is founded in Paris by Charles Jourjon and Marcel Vandel with Ffr 150,000 capital—a small sum compared with other newly formed film companies. Eclair's chief engineer is A-F Parnaland, the former technician for Dr Doyen. > 1908 early
June 10  Auguste Lumière’s demonstrates an improved process for colour reproduction through auto-chrome plates.  
summer  France has more than 50 dedicated (new or converted) cinemas, mostly in shopping areas of cities.  
July 1  Georrges Méliès' film Le Tunnel sous la Manche, ou Le Cauchemar franco-anglais (The Tunnel under the Channel, or the Anglo-French Nightmare) is released. On March 21 the British government had rejected the idea of a channel tunnel
July 25  Boris Rosing in St Petersburg applies for the first patent covering cathode ray tube (patent no 18076, granted 30 October 1910). Rosing conceives the first television system using cathode ray tubes and mirror drums.  
July  Henceforth Pathé-Frères films are to be rented to exhibitors, rather than sold outright, in weekly programmes on an exclusive basis, charging a fixed percentage of box office takings. This institutes the practice of blind booking: exhibitors must take the whole programme of films. A regionally organised network of six distribution companies is to beformed to handle bookings—four for areas of France from Paris to the Mediterranean, one for northern France, Switzerland and Algeria, and one for the Benelux territories (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg). distribution network > 1908 early
rentals > 1909 February
July  Edison film production in New York City moves to a purpose-built studio on Decatur Avenue in the Bronx.  
August  Pathé's The Passsion Play, or Life of Christ, a four-reel, 13-section film with hand-stencilled colour, running for an hour, is a huge success, especially in the US, with runs continuing into the early months of 1908.  
autumn  Pathé's US sales of 30m-40m feet of film prints a year are almost twice the volume of all American distributors combined, according to George Eastman. >
October  Edison wins a film patent suit in the US against the Selig Film Company and files one against Pathé.  
late  Georges Méliès builds a second studio at Montreuil. < 1897 spring
November 4  Chicago city authorities pass an ordinance 'prohibiting the exhibition of obsecene and immoral pictures and regulating the exhibition of pictures of the classes and kinds commonly shown in mutoscopes, kinetoscopes, cinematographs and penny arcades'. Exhibitors are required to apply for a permit from the chief of police. This is the first US censorship legislation.
> 1908 December 24
November  Leading film rental exchanges meet in Chicago and form the United Film Service Protection Agency (UFSPA) to regulate all sectors of the industry, to promote block booking of all a distributor's weekly film releases rather than a selection, and to stamp out 'bicycling' of prints (illegal sub-leasing of prints by one exhibitor to another by literally running prints by bicycle between cinemas reel by reel).  
December 16  A radio broadcast from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York includes a performance by Eugene H Farrar of a song, Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?—perhaps the first broadcast of a song.  
December 24  A permanent cinema screen is installed at the Cirque d'Hiver in Paris, which is owned by Charles Pathé.  
December 24  A set of 24 discs of recordings representing the music of the period are sealed in urns and placed in the Palais Garnier of the Opéra National de Paris, to be opened in 200 years' time. The urns were opened on 19 December 2007
December  Pathé claims in the US press that its six plants in Paris are processing 230,000 feet of film a day. The company had placed an order with Eastman Kodak for 50m feet of film.  
December  More upmarket and larger venues for film screenings—such as converted vaudeville theatres—begin to open in US cities, initially Chicago and New York. They quickly become very profitable, the admission charge being typically 10 cents or more (cf, the five cent—nickel—charge in nickelodeons). Uniformed attendants and small orchestras begin to appear over the coming months.  
•  Don Juan is produced by Pathé Frères, a coloured film with synchronous sound from gramophone records.  
•  DC biasing is introduced in the Telegraphone steel wire recorder.  
•  Pathé's output of equipment at Belleville increases to 400 units a month. [0068] > 1909 early
•  British film producer Will Barker buys a mansion with grounds on Ealing Green in west London and builds a three-stage glass-covered film studio.[0019]  
•  Essanay Company is formed in the US by George K Spoor and Max Arenson Anderson.  
•  Balham Empire Music Hall,opened in 1900 in south London, is converted into the Balham Empire cinema, said to be the first UK theatre solely devoted to film shows.  
•  Svenska Bio film production company is founded in Sweden by Charles Magnusson. > 1911
•  First Finnish fiction film: Salaviinanpolttajat (Bootleggers), directed by Louis Sparre, a Swede, and produced by Karl Emil Ståhlberg’s production company, Atelier Apollo.  
•  Eugène Lauste is granted a master patent (number 18057) in England, covering all fundamentals of optical sound recording. [English patents last for 16 years.] Sound energy from a microphone is fed to a thin metal strip that vibrates, constantly altering the focus of the light as it passed through a slit onto the film, creating a variable area image. Lauste has a workshop in Brixton, South London and is funded by London Cinematograph. [0025]  
•  Léon Gaumont's Chronophone makes its commercial debut at the Hippodrome in London. [0027]  
•  Gaumont opens the largest film studio in the world. [0068]  
•  Cameraphone sound film system is developed by E E Norton, a former employee of the American Graphophone Company (later Columbia Records). Sound is pre-recorded on Columbia discs to which the artists mime in front of the camera at the Cameraphone studio above Daly's Theatre on Lower Broadway,New York. The first screening is given at Sevin Point, Rhode Island.  
•  Parson’s Auxetophone uses compressed air to increase the amplitude of vibrations in the diaphragm of audio speakers.  
•  Louis Lumière develops a process for colour photography using a three-colour screen.  
•  British journalist and inventor Theodore Brown (1870-1938) patents the Spirograph film system using a 10½-inch disc on which approximately 1,200 images are recorded in a spiral formation. A crank handle rotates the disc and advanced the lens and lamp housing through a mechanical coupling. [A Spirograph projector is held in the National Museum of Technology and Art, Washington DC.] • Brown's Kinoplastikon, 1913
• Spirograph, 1923
The quest for home video: Spirograph
•  Lee de Forest, American inventor, adds a controlling electrode, the grid, to Fleming’s valve.  
•  Dr Leo Baekeland invents bakelite, based on phenol formaldehyde, the first synthetic plastic, much used for radio receiver casings in mid-century.  
•  Inter-titles are used in film and soon become very prolific.  
•  Italy has 500 cinemas, Hungary 127. First cinema opens in India.  
•  Kinematograph Film Makers’ Association is founded in the UK.  
•  Film projectionists are refused membership of the Variety Artists Federation and form their own trades union, the Bioscope Operators’ Association, later called the National Association of Cinematograph Operators.  
•  Kinoreformbewegung (Cinema Reform Movement) in Germany promotes the educational potential of films.  
•  A board of police film censorship is established in Chicago.  
•  The first Western movies shot in the real West are made by the Selig-Polyscope Company. This indirectly stimulates the move of the US film industry to Hollywood.  
•  The Gramophone and Typewriter Company moves its headquarters to Hayes, Middlesex.  
< previous | next >

Page updated 12 August 2012
© David Fisher