HARRIET TUBMAN, “HONEST” ABE and THOMAS ALVA EDISON: Movies and the Age of Steam
Movies in the Age of Steam
The age of motion pictures – or movies(“moving pictures”) – began at the end of the nineteenth century with the invention – and patenting – of a device called a Kinetoscope, an early motion picture exhibition device designed for films to be viewed individually through the window of a cabinet housing its components. This device was conceptualized by Thomas Edison and developed by his employee, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, in 1890.
The Kinetoscope allowed a series of transparencies to be recorded sequentially onto a single strip of negative film. Once this film was developed, printed and replayed at original recording speed, it created the illusion of moving pictures.
Once the technology was perfected, business-minded men pounced upon it like sharks on a sea lion, opening nickelodeons – the first type of indoor exhibition space dedicated to showing projected motion pictures with the Kinetoscope (usually set up in converted storefronts, these small, simple theaters charged five cents for admission, thus the name) – across the United States.
A third of these businessmen – being the smart sharks that they were – pilfered Edison’s work and built “Kinetoscopes” of their own. Patent laws and other such inconvenient balderdash be damned!
Another third – being the not-so-smart, but gangsta, sharks that they were – stole Edison’s equipment and set up shop.
The remaining third – being the wiser-than-their-brethren sharks that they were – actually purchased the equipment legally and in strict adherence to U.S. patent laws.
Edison took everyone who violated his patent to court and won every suit – being the relentless and ruthless shark hunter that he was.
The up-and-coming sharks – all based on the East Coast, within a seashell’s throw of Edison’s lawyers – figured, correctly, that being so close, they would only be caught and jailed, or fined heavily, if they pilfered from old Tom Alva.
So, the sharks fled the East Coast and swam west to avoid scrutiny by Edison’s agents, or by government officials.
Since sunny California was as far west as they could travel and still be in the good old U.S. of A, that is where most of the sharks permanently set up shop.
TO READ THIS BLOG IN ITS ENTIRETY, PLEASE VISIT http://chroniclesofharriet.com/2012/06/27/harriet-tubman-honest-abe....