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1908 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.

links and notes
January 22  Edouard Bélin uses his Bélinographe to transmit a photographic image by telegraph 1,700 km from Paris to Bordeaux and Lyon and back. The process takes 22 minutes  
January  Australian feature film of The Story of the Kelly Gang is premièred in UK at the Assembly Rooms, Bath.  
January   First film studio opens in Japan, built by Kenichi Kawaura of Yoshizawa Company after visiting Edison in the US.  
February 4  Biograph refuses to sign up as an Edison licensee. > March 1
February 9  Biograph buys up the patent rights to the Latham loop from current owners Ansco (formerly known as Anthony and Scoville) to give leverage against Edison's aggressive licensing arrangements. > 1912
February 21  Pathé opens the Cinéma Métropole at the avenue La Motte Piquet in Paris. It is claimed to have the largest screen in the world at the time.  
February  Svenska Biografteatern film production company is formed at Kristianstad. A member of the company is Charles Magnusson, an accountant and amateur photographer who has been working on synchronising films and gramophone records.  
February  In the UK, Arthur Melbourne-Cooper makes a puppet animation film, Dreams of Toyland, while in the US Edison's studio turns out a part live action, part clay animation film, A Sculptor's Welsh Rarebit Dream.  
•February  US entertainment trade paper Variety begins to carry reviews of leading films on show in New York City.  
March 1  Edison Company forms the Association of Edison Licensees (AEL)—another precursor to the Motion Picture Patent Company (MPPC)—in an effort to regulate film distribution practices. Biograph refuses to join and forms a separate consortium. > September 9
•  Biograph and Kleine forn a rival to the Association of Edison Licensees (AEL), informally known as the 'Independent Movement'. > July
early  Edison Company forms the Film Services Association (FSA) to restrict foreign (ie, European) film imports into the USA, of which Gaston Méliès is a member—another precursor to the Motion Picture Patent Company (MPPC).  
•  In later evidence at the anti-trust hearings against the Motion Picture Company (MPPC), Edison's vice-president Frank Dyer claims that Pathé films account for 60 per cent of all prints in circulation in the US. < 1907 autumn
early  Eclair attracts a further Ffr 500,000 investment and builds a glass-house studio at Epinay-sur-Seine. The company acquires Radios, another production company with a glass-house studio at Boulogne-sur-Seine and funded by Jules Dumien and Georges Maurice, the latter replacing Parnaland as Eclair's head of engineering.  
early  Pathé's six regional distributors are in place. A seventh company, Société de Cinématographe Automobile, is formed to provide transport for weekly delivery of new programmes.  
May 20  Police ruling in Berlin leads to the issuing of censor's certificates for films.  
June 18  Letter published in Nature from A A Campbell Swinton describes the essential characteristics of an all-electric television system. > 1911
Campbell-Swinton's letter
June  Société cinématographique des auteurs et gens de lettres (SCAGL) is formed by popular French novelist Pierre Decourcelles (1856-1926) in association with Pathé, which gains rights to adapt works by members of the Société des gens de lettres (SGL) into films that would appeal to a more upmarket audience.  
June  Joseph McCoy conducts a survey for the Edison Company of current films on show in New York City: 177 out of 515 are Pathé releases. [0071]  
July 8  Kinemacolor is demonstrated at a scientific meeting in Paris. The Lumière Brothers are in the audience. > December 9 
July 14  D W Griffith's first film, The Adventures of Dolly, opens at the Union Square Theatre in New York.  
July  Edison, Biograph and Kleine begin negotiations about merging their rival film associations. > September 9
August 17  In France Emile Cohl makes Phantasmagorie for Gaumont, the first animated film made from drawings on paper, lasting two minutes, is shown at the Théâtre du Gymnase, Paris.  
August  Gaumont opens its first cinema in Paris: the Cinéma-Palace.  
September 9  Motion Picture Patents Company, known as The Trust, is provisionally formed in the US by leading film companies to protect their patents and copyrights by pooling patents on equipment, mostly held by Edison and Biograph. Among the members are Biograph, Edison, Vitagraph, Essenay, Kalem, Kleine, Lubin, Méliès, Pathé and Selig.
        Among other things, the Trust establishes a standard price of half a cent per foot for film prints that are rented on a weekly basis rather than sold. The effect is to strengthen the American industry, leading to a reduction in imports. The European producers respond by making films based on literary or historical subjects that will be less directly competitive with the current vogue styles of American-made films.
> December 18
September 26  An early instance of software bundling and political audio-visual messages: Edison Phonographs are advertised in the Saturday Evening Post with recordings by the Democratic and Republican candidates for the US presidency in the forthcoming election.  
September  First film taken from an aeroplane by Pathé cinematographer L P Bouvillain—a year before the first still photograph taken from an aeroplane.  
October  Columbia Record Company puts the first double-sided audio disc on the market.  
November 17  Assassination du Duc de Guise, the first narrative film to have specially composed music (by Camille Saint-Saëns), is premiered in Paris.  
November  British trade paper The Bioscope proposes a declining scale of film hire charges from first-run to outright sales of prints to travelling showmen.  
December 9  G A Smith demonstrates Kinemacolor to the Royal Society of Arts in London and five days later (December 14) gives a public exhibition. > 1909
December 18  Motion Picture Patents Company begins issuing licences under the pooled patent arrangement. All previous Edison licensees—Essanay, Kalem, Lubin, Pathé, Selig and Vitagraph—sign, plus Biograph and Kleine. The licences are even more restrictive than hitherto, probably at Pathé's insistence. [0071] Even Pathé's imports, set at a maximum of 4,000 ft a week, are considerably less than the company's fill capacity. The MPPC licenses 80 per cent of all US rental exchanges. > 1910
December 24  Responding to pressure by religious and reform groups, New York mayor George B McClellan orders all film shows to be closed and all licences to be revoked with immediate effect. To be granted a new licence, cinemas must first be checked by the chief of the fire department. In future licences will again be revoked of any theatre that 'tended to degrade or injure the morals of the community'. [0079] > 1909 January 9
•  In this year, Pathé releases twice as many films in the US as all American producers combined.  
•  Eastman Kodak now supllies almost 90 per cent of all film stock worldwide.  
•  Edison resumes research into sound films at the company's Decatur Avenue studio in the Bronx, New York. The new work is based, without credit, on the ideas of Auguste Baron. [0025]  
•  In its latest catalogue, US mail order retailer Sears Roebuck offers a complete kit to set up a nickelodeon.  
•  Pathé Journal newsreel is first screened in Paris; distribution extends to the whole of France during the following year.  
•  Pathé now has six studios at Joinville, Montreuil, Vincennes and near Nice. [0068]  
•  Pathé builds a film studio at Okubo, Toyko. Yokota Company builds one in Kyoto.  
•  American film exhibitor Carl Laemmle imports the Synchroscope, a sound film system invented in Germany by Jules Greenbaum, for sale to theatres. Initially priced at $750, it is soon selling at $395-500. [0025]  
•  There are now 87 cinemas in Paris (there having been only 10 two years earlier); 300 new cinemas open in Berlin.  
•  UK has three film exhibition companies with combined capital of £110,000.  
•  First Norwegian fiction film is Fiskerlivets farer: et drama på havet.  
•  Alexander Drankov's Stenka Razin is the first Russian feature-length film.  
•  Lin Ten-lun of the Feng Tai Photo Shop, Beijing, directs the first Chinese dramatic film, Tingchun Mountain.  
•  Metropolitan Films produces the first in Cuba: El Cabildo de Romualda, directed by Enrique Diaz Quesada.  
•  Gramophones are now installed in 18m German households.  
•  First British outdoor telephone kiosk is installed at Folkestone, Kent by the National Telephone Company. The booths are designed to blend with their surroundings.  
•  A Nobel Prize is awarded to Gabriel Lippmann for his work on colour photography.  
•  Arthur Pearson sells the Daily Express newspaper to a group of Liberal backers; the circulation is 320,000.  
•  Charles Chaplin is first employed by Fred Karno for his ‘London Comedians’.  
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Page updated 2 November 2009
© David Fisher