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1915 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.


links and notes
January 19  Neon-tube advertising sign is patented in France by Georges Claude (see 1911 November 9)  
January 25  First US transcontinental telephone call is made between Alexander Graham Bell in New York and Dr Thomas A Watson in San Francisco.  
February 1  Fox Film Company is founded in New York by William Fox for production, distribution and exhibition. It moved to Hollywood two years later.  
February 8  D W Griffith’s 12-reel production of The Birth of a Nation, based on Thomas Dixon's pro-Ku Klux Klan novel The Clansman, is premiered in Los Angeles. It is shot entirely with a single hand-cranked Pathι camera bought by cinematographer Billy Bitzer for $300 and equipped with two interchangeable screw-in lenses. (Cranking is done in waltz time.)  
February 18  Woodrow Wilson quotation in 'Birth of a Nation'D W Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation is screened at the White House for President Woodrow Wilson, whose book History of the American People is quoted in the film's intertitles. Woodrow Wilson quotation
March 3  D W Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation goes on release in the USA. It becomes the biggest grossing film in history until 1925, earning $10m at the box office.  
March 14  First issue of the Sunday Pictorial newspaper in the UK, making extensive use of photography.  
March 15  Divisional Court of Appeal decides that English local authorities do have the right to ban cinema exhibition on Sundays (Ellis v North Metropolitan Theatres Ltd).  
April 11  Charlie Chaplin’s classic two-reel comedy The Tramp is released in the USA.  
June 10  Experimental stereoscopic test films are demonstrated at the Astor Theater in New York by Edwin S Porter and William E Waddell. The 3D effect is achieved with a red-green anaglyph system but the idea is not followed up at this time.  
September 30  A memorandum from David Sarnoff, contracts manager, to Edward J Nally, vice-president and general manager of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, proposes the idea of a ‘Radio Music Box’ as a multi-frequency radio receiver that would become a ‘household utility’. quotation Sarnoff's letter
October 21  American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) and Western Electric Company broadcast music and speech from Arlington, Virginia, USA to Eiffel Tower, Paris, France.  
December 10  Kinematograph Renters Society (KRS) is founded in the UK to represent the interests of film distributors.The 10 founder members are Advance Film Service, Butcher's Film Service, Gaumont Film Hire Service, Globe Film Co, Green & Co, Ideal Film Renting Co, International Cine, Jury's Imperial Pictures, Pioneer Film Agency and Ruffell's Imperial Bioscope.  
December  Creole trumpet player Freddie Keppard and his Original Creole Orchestra refuse to record for the Victor Talking Machine Company because it would involve a recording test that Keppard regarded as a free audition, thereby missing the chance to record the first 'jazz' record  
•  In Mutual Film Corporation v. Ohio, the US Supreme Court rules that films are only items of commerce and thus not subject to free-speech protection. Decision reversed 1952
•  Triangle Films is the first attempt to form a vertically integrated film production/distribution/exhibition company in the US; it does not survive See also 1913 January and 1919
•  M Kashii Film acquires Pathι’s interests in Japan.  
•  Exclusive terms are offered for 600 British films, as the total output falls to 5,390, including series, newsreels and shorts.  
•  In US, National Board of Censorship of Motion Pictures changes its name to National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.  
•  The activities of the Motion Picture Patent Company and the General Film Company, its distribution subsidiary, are declared illegal under the Sherman anti-trust law and the GFC is dissolved by federal court order.
US anti-trust enforcement delays
•  Four members of the Motion Picture Patent Company (MPPC) form a new joint distribution company, VLSE, comprising Vitagraph, Lubin, Selig and Essanay.  
•  Film Company of Ireland is founded by James Mark Sullivan, a lawyer, journalist and diplomat. He and his collaborators are sentenced to death by the British but survive. See also 1918
•  Enlarged Lime Grove Studios open at Shepherds Bush, west London. A C & R C Bromhead of Gaumont had operated a small studio on the site since the earliest years of the century. > 1932
•  Film studio at Alexandra Palace, north London is destroyed by fire.  
•  First film to include a nude scene—Daughter of the Gods, featuring Annette Kellerman—is produced by Fox on location at St Augusta, Jamaica.  
•  First feature-length films made in
• Argentina: Nobleza Gaucha, directed by Humberto Cairo and Una Noche de Garufa, directed by Josι Ferreyra;
• Bulgaria: Balgaran e Galant (The Bulgar is a Gentleman), directed by and starring Vassil Gendov, a remake of his 1910 short.
 
•  Death of Narayanrao Peshwa, directed by Shree Nath Patankar, is the first historical Indian film drama. This year Patankar also makes the first Indian film with an actress (Narmada Mane) in a female role, Jaimini (Passion v Learning). See also 1918
•  Patent application for a method of recording sound and picture on separate films is filed in the US by H C Bullis. The two films run in sync on a single machine; synchronising light pulses recorded on each film enable matching of sound and picture. The patent (US 1,335,651) is granted in 1920.
•  McKenna Duties impose import duty on ‘luxury’ imports to the UK, including cinema films.  
•  Universal Pictures moves to Hollywood, acquiring a site that becomes Universal City (the only US city to consist of a film studio), to escape from the New York-based Motion Picture Patents Company, which wishes to preserve its monopoly.  
•  Technicolor Company is founded by Herbert T Kalmus, Daniel Frost Comstock and W Burton Westcott. The name is derived from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Kalmus was educated. First attempts to create a colour film explore a two-colour additive process. See 1919
•  John Logie Baird, living at Yoker in Glasgow, achieves limited success with television experiments.  
•  In Italy, author and dramatist Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) publishes Shoot! The Notebooks of Serafino Gubbio, Cinematograph Operator, thought to be the first novel set in the film industry.  
•  Daily Express newspaper goes into receivership, with Max Aitken as receiver.  
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Page updated 24 January 2010
© David Fisher