Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Talking Picture Devices

This item is a brief run-down of the most prominent devices for synchronizing film and phonograph as of 1913.
Talking Picture Devices

Several Concerns Claim Priority, But Edison’s Kinetophone Seems to Have Created Greatest Interest.

In answer to many inquiries regarding the so-called “talking pictures” and to note the several claims of priority in that particular field, the Moving Picture World offers the following information:

Cameraphone.—This was the first device offered to picture theaters in America, for which it was claimed that the picture and the voice could be reproduced simultaneously. J. H. Whitman was the promoter and owner of the patents covering the synchronizing mechanism. The Cameraphone Company operated a large studio and factory at Eleventh Avenue and 43rd Street, New York, for some time, but eventually failed for lack of interest on the part of the public.

Gaumont Chronophone.—This device for the production of “talking pictures” was perfected by the Gaumont Company, of Paris, and was first shown at the St. Louis World’s Fair. It was not until 1908 that the device was offered for sale in America, during which year Mr. Herbert Blache opened offices on East 25th Street, New York. The Chronophone was, to all appearances, successful in meeting all claims of the inventors, but it did not meet with favor here, so its promotion was discontinued for the time. We are informed that it is in successful operation in Paris and that the Gaumont Company is preparing again to urge its use in America.

Cort-Kitsee Device.—This is a synchronizing device invented by Dr. Kitsee, of Philadelphia, Pa., and is being promoted by Mr. John Cort, a New York theatrical man. Up to the present writing no attempt has been made to offer the device to the public, but private demonstrations have been given that are said to have proved the practicability of the mechanism.

Synchrophone and Cinematophone.—A new deice being promoted by the Synchrophone Motion Picture Company of New York. This device may be seen at Sherwood’s picture theater on Fulton Street, New York, between Broadway and Nassau Street. Many advantages are claimed for this mechanism, but there has been no effort made to place it generally.

Kinetophone.—This is the Edison device now being operated in a number of the larger cities in connection with vaudeville theaters. It is being handled by the American Talking Picture Company. Whatever may be said by rivals regarding the merit of the Kinetophone and the work of Mr. Thomas A. Edison in bringing it up to its present state of perfection, it must be admitted that it has been instrumental in gaining recognition for the “talking picture.” If not the first in the field, it is the first to gain any considerable recognition in America.
Source: “Talking Picture Devices,” Moving Picture World 29 March 1913, 1318.