The first machine patented in the United States that showed animated pictures or movies was a device called the “wheel of life” or “zoopraxiscope”. Patented in 1867 by William Lincoln, moving drawings or photographs were watched through a slit in the zoopraxiscope. However, this was a far cry from motion pictures as we know them today. Modern motion picture making began with the invention of the motion picture camera.
One of the first motion-picture film camera’s, was designed by Louis Le Prince in 1888. It still exists with the National Media Museum, England. Le Prince employed paper bands and celluloïd film from John Carbutt and or Blair & Eastman in 1¾ inch width. On June 21 1889, William Friese-Greene was issued patent no. 10131 for his ‘chronophotographic’ camera. It was apparently capable of taking up to ten photographs per second using perforated celluloid film.
Two things led Edison to the invention of the motion picture camera: His idea that motion could be captured by having one camera that would take repeated pictures at high speed, and a new celluloid film developed by George Eastman for use in still photography that proved adaptable to Edison’s proposed camera.
To Edison’s mind, motion pictures would do for the eye what the phonograph did for the ear. Thus, we find that on Oct. 6, 1889, when they first projected an experimental motion picture in his laboratory, he gave birth to sound pictures as well. The first movie actually was a “talkie.” The picture was accompanied by synchronized sound from a phonograph record.