Thursday, October 30, 2014

Parlor Kinetoscope

Thomas Alva Edison, the Wizard of Menlo Park, was a prolific inventor with over 100 patents. He was one of the pioneers in developing and showing films in the 1890s. Before the Lumière brothers showed their first projected movie in 1895, Edison had opened his first Kinetoscope Parlor in New York where patrons could watch movies in a peepshow-like device. There were rows of machines and with the deposit of a coin, a motor would engage and through a viewing hole you could see the film. The Kinetoscope Parlor was an immediate success, but in less than a decade the Kinetoscope was overwhelmed by projected movies.

In 1897, Edison also patented and produced a table-top Parlor Kinetoscope to appeal to the burgeoning home entertainment market. Very few of these toys have survived through to today. I am fortunate to have one now and I have opened a whole new section on my site for Flickers which include Kinoras, Flip books, the Parlor Kinetoscope, and Mutascopes.

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