On this date in 1895 two French brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, first demonstrated motion pictures using celluloid film in a private viewing in Paris, according to InfoPlease.com. Later that year, the brothers held their first public screening of their cinematic invention on December 28 at the famed Le Grand Café in Paris’s Opera District.
The Lumière brothers were not the first inventors to develop motion picture techniques. Yet, film historians consider the Grand Café screening to be the birth of the cinema as a commercial medium where admission was charged. The screening actually debuted ten short, 50-second films, the first showing workers walking out of the Lumière factory.
Auguste and Louis inherited their passion for film and photography from their father Claude-Antoin Lumière, who ran a photographic firm, where both brothers worked. Based on this experience, the brothers patented a number of significant processes prior to the film camera itself, including the perforation of film that allowed it to be advanced through the camera and projector. They received their patent for their cinématographe camera and projector on February 19, 1895.
In 1896, the Lumières took their cinématographe on a world tour including London, New York, Buenos Aires and Bombay, and the “moving images had an immediate and significant influence on popular culture.” (Wikipedia.org)
Strangely enough, the brothers then turned their attention from moving pictures to color photography in 1903, proclaiming: “the cinema is an invention without any future.”
Whereas the Lumière company did quite well throughout much of the 1900s as a major producer of photographic products in Europe, the name “Lumière” eventually faded after its merger with the Swiss company Ciba in 1961, which later became Ilford France.
Ironically, “lumière” translates as “light” in English, such as the glow that comes from a newly invented movie projector or a New Lantern.