Celebrating the History of Motion Pictures from 1890 to 1960

1897 Timelines: 1890 to 1899

The American Mutoscope Company (later renamed the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company and frequently called the “Biograph Company”), marketing their own films and their new biograph projector, becomes the foremost motion picture company in the U.S.


In Paris a catastrophic fire breaks out at the Bazar de la Charité’s temporary cinema killing 121 people.


Charles Méliès constructs the first movie studio that uses artificial illumination.


Because of customs irregularities with the importation of their cameras, and because their films used a single–hole sprocket system that was incompatible with other English and American projectors, the Lumière Agency liquidated its holdings of equipment and films in both the U.S. and England.


Thomas Edison serves his first legal writ, announcing his intention to eliminate all competitors in motion pictures.


Biograph signs a contract with the Orpheum vaudeville circuit establishing a nationwide exhibition network for its films.


The 35mm film gauge becomes widely accepted as the standard gauge for motion pictures, although Biograph and other film companies continue to use other gauges.


Significant Films:

Edison’s “Admiral Cigarette” is the first advertising film to be submitted for copyright.


The Biograph film, “The Haverstraw Tunnel”, became the company’s most popular film.  It was made by mounting a camera on the cowcatcher of a train that was then sent through a tunnel.


“McKinley Taking the Oath” was one of a dozen films related to the new president’s inauguration.


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