Friday, January 29, 2010

Kinetophone and Opera

This is an excerpt from a short front page article in the New York Times on Edison's work improving the submarine. Edison in fact seemed more interested in talking about the state of his Kinetophone, and the possibility of bringing opera to the masses, than improvements in submarine technology. This article comes at a point, November 1914, where the novelty of the device had worn off. In addition, the beginning of the First World War had cut international demand for the device. Edison's statement here suggests that he was thinking of marketing the Kinetophone to moving picture theaters. (The Kinetophone had previously been controlled by vaudeville interests.) Edison's shift in strategy was never able to bear fruit: in December, the Edison plant would burn down and the company would decide not to rebuild the Kinetophone facilities.
The Wizard is still devoting attention to the new “talking movies,” which he calls the kinetophone, and he indicated today that something new in this line would soon be forthcoming.

“I told the people when the kinetophone was first put on the market that sooner or later they would be able to see and hear opera by the best artists for a nickel,” he said. “The workingman has popularized the ‘movie,’ and now we are going to give the poor man and his family something more for a nickel.”
Source: “Edison Submarine Coming,” New York Times 9 November 1914, 1.