This Day in History – December 28th, 1895

Lumière 1The Lumière brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean were the first filmmakers in history. They patented the cinematograph, which in contrast to Edison’s “peepshow” kinetoscope allowed simultaneous viewing by multiple parties. Their first film, Sortie de l’usine Lumière de Lyon, shot in 1894, is considered the first true motion picture.

Their first public screening of films at which admission was charged was held on December 28th, 1895, at Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris. This history-making presentation featured ten short films, including their first film, Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory).

The moving images had an immediate and significant influence on popular culture with L’Arrivée d’un Train en Gare de la Ciotat (literally, “the arrival of a train at La Ciotat”, but more commonly known as Arrival of a Train at a Station) and Carmaux, défournage du coke (Drawing out the coke). Their actuality films, or actualités, are often cited as the first, primitive documentaries. They also made the first steps towards comedy film with the slapstick of L’Arroseur Arrosé.

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Later, 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. This made many film makers upset. Consequently, their role in the history of film was exceedingly brief. They turned their attentions to color photography and in 1903 they patented a color photography process, the “Autochrome Lumière“, launched on the market in 1907. Throughout much of the 20th century, the Lumière company was a major producer of photographic products in Europe, but the brand name, Lumière, disappeared from the marketplace following merger with Ilford.


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