Send me an E-mail
(Please, no questions
 about value.)

Instructions for sending photographs of your pieces with your question.

Who invented the spy camera?

George Eastman
James Land
Walter Zapp
                     To see the answer

From Daguerre to Digital 
by John Wade

This book contains over 500 color photos, displaying a wide range of cameras produced from the earliest days of photography to the rise of the digital age. The informative text provides a history of cameras, organized into chapters by various camera types, including snapshot, folding, rangefinder, single lens reflex, twin lens reflex, stereo, panoramic, miniature, and spy cameras. Cameras within each chapter are arranged chronologically to show the development of the camera type.
                                  More Books


Antique Photographs
—What Stories Do They Tell?

This video examines a series of antique photographs to see what can be learned about their creation dates and the photographers who made them. The narrator also discuesses a few tips for dating old photographs, as well as learning about silver mirroring—a deterioration problem in some gelatin silver prints.
Click on the title to view.

And look for other videos in selected articles.

Have Bob speak
 on antiques to your group or organization.

More Information

Can't find what
 you're looking for?

Go to our Sitemap

Find out what's coming in the
2023 Holiday Edition

of the

"Holiday's Best"


Share pages of this ezine with your friends using the buttons provided with each article.

Download our
Decorative Periods and Styles Chart

Read our newest glossary:

Antique Furniture Terminology
 from A to Z

courtesy of AntiquesWorldUK

Videos have
come to

The Antiques

Expand your antiques experience.

Look for videos in various articles.

Just click on the
arrow to play.


Kodak Folding Camera 1902

Lights, Camera, Lumieré
by Bob Brooke


Today’s projected movies can be traced back to two brothers from Lyon, France, Louis and Auguste Lumiere. As French inventors, they pioneered an early motion picture camera and projectot called the Cinématographe, from which came the word cinema.

Originally, Louis worked with his father, Antoine, in their photographic equipment manufacturing business. In 1881, 17-year-old Louis invented a new “dry plate” process of developing film, which boosted his father’s business enough to fuel the opening of a new factory in the Lyons suburbs. By 1894, the Lumières were producing some 15 million plates a year.

That year, Antoine Lumière attended an exhibition of Edison’s Kinetoscope in Paris. Upon his return to Lyons, he showed his sons a length of film he had received from one of Edison’s concessionaires; he also told them they should try to develop a cheaper alternative to the peephole film-viewing device and its bulky camera counterpart, the Kinetograph. While the Kinetoscope could only show a motion picture to one individual viewer, Antoine urged Auguste and Louis to work on a way to project film onto a screen, where many people could view it at the same time.

Auguste began the first experiments in the winter of 1894, and by early the following year the brothers had come up with their own device, which they called the Cinématographe. Much smaller and lighter than the Kinetograph, it weighed around 11 pounds and operated with the use of a hand-powered crank. The Cinématographe photographed and projected film at a speed of 16 frames per second, much slower than Edison’s device which recorded images at 48 frames per second. This meant it was less noisy to operate and used less film.

The Lumieres patented several significant processes leading up to their film camera, most notably film perforations, originally invented by Emile Reynaud, as a means of advancing the film through the camera and projector. The original cinématographe had been patented by Léon Guillaume Bouly on February 12, 1892.

The key innovation at the heart of the Cinématographe was the film transport mechanism. Two pins or claws, inserted into the sprocket holes, punched into the celluloid film strip. The pins moved the film along and then retracted, leaving the film stationary during exposure. Louis Lumière designed this process of intermittent movement based on the way in which a sewing machine worked, a tactic that Edison had considered but rejected in favor of continuous movement.

A three-in-one device that could record, develop and project motion pictures, the Cinématographe became the first viable film camera. Using it, the Lumière brothers shot footage of workers at their factory leaving at the end of the day on March 19, 1895. They showed the resulting film, “La Sortie des ouvriers de l’usine Lumière,” or “Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory,” on March 22, 1895 at the "Society for the Development of the National Industry" in Paris to an audience of 200 people, one of whom was Léon Gaumont, then director of the company the Comptoir géneral de la photographie. Louis Lumiere’s main focus at the conference was the recent developments in still color photography. But much to his surprise, the moving black and white images from his film projector got more attention than his colored stills.

After a number of other private screenings, the Lumière brothers unveiled the Cinématographe in their first public screening on December 28, 1895, at the Salon Indien du Grand Cafe on Paris’ Boulevard de Capuchines. for about 40 paying visitors and invited relations which has been traditionally regarded as the birth of cinema.

This history-making presentation consisted of 10 short films. The first, La Sortie de l'usine Lumière à Lyon—literally, "The Exit from the Lumière Factory in Lyon," lasted only 46 seconds. The longest, Le Jardinier, The Gardener, and Les Forgerons, The Blacksmiths, ran for only 49 seconds each while the shortest, Baignada en mer, Bathing in the Sea, ran for 38 seconds.

WATCH A VIDEO:  The Exit from the Lumiére Factory

In early 1896, they opened Cinématographe theaters in London, Brussels, Belgium and New York, as well as visiting Bombay, Montreal, and Buenos Aires. After making more than 40 films that year, mostly scenes of everyday French life, but also the first newsreel of the French Photographic Society conference and the first documentaries about the Lyon Fire Department, they began sending other cameramen-projectionists out into the world to record scenes of life and showcase their invention.

The moving images had an immediate and significant influence on popular culture with the film L'Arrivée d'un Train en Gare de la Ciotat—literally, "The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat," more commonly known as “Arrival of a Train at a Station” and #Carmaux, Défournage du Coke, or “Drawing out the Coke.” Many film historians believe these actuality films, or actualités, to be the first, primitive documentaries. They also made the first steps towards comedy film with the slapstick of “L'Arroseur Arrosé.”

WATCH A VIDEO:  The Arrival of a Train at a Station

However, the brothers stated that "the cinema is an invention without any future" and declined to sell their camera to other filmmakers such as Georges Méliès., upsetting many early film makers.

By 1905, the Lumières had withdrawn from the moviemaking business in favor of developing the first practical photographic color process, known as the Lumière Autochrome.

< Back to More Back in Time                                           Next Article >

Antiques Q&A

Antiques and More on

The Antiques Almanac on Facebook

No antiques or collectibles
are sold on this site.

How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Book: How to Recognizing and Refinishing Antiques for Pleasure and Profit
Have you ever bought an antique or collectible that was less than perfect and needed some TLC? Bob's new book offers tips and step-by- step instructions for simple maintenance and restoration of common antiques.

Read an Excerpt

Auction News
Get up to the minute news of antiques auctions around the country and the world.

Also see
The Auction Directory

Antiques News
Read breaking news stories from the world of antiques and collectibles.

Art Exhibitions
Search for art exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world.

Home | About This Site | Antiques | Collectibles | Antique Tips | Book Shop | Antique Trivia | Antique Spotlight | Antiques News  Special Features | Caring for Your Collections | Collecting | Readers Ask | Antiques Glossaries | Resources | Contact
Copyright ©2007-2023 by Bob Brooke Communications
Site design and development by BBC Web Services