History of Film

  • First Discovery

    Johann H. Schulze, a German physicist, discovers that silver salts turn dark when exposed to light.
  • Period: to

    History of Film

  • Silver Salts

    Carl Scheele, a Swedish chemist, shows that the changes in the color of the silver salts could be made permanent through the use of chemicals.
  • First Photograph

    First Photograph
    A French inventor, Nicephore Niepce, produces a permanent image by coating a metal plate with a light-sensitive chemical and exposing the plate to light for about eight hours.
  • First Method

    Louis Daguerre, a French inventor, develops the first practical method of photography by placing a sheet of silver-coated copper treated with crystals of iodine inside a camera and exposing it to an image for 5 to 40 minutes.
  • Lense Development

    Josef M. Petzval, a Hungarian mathematician, develops lenses for portrait and landscape photographs, which produce sharper images and admit more light, thus reducing exposure time.
  • Dry-Plate Process

    Richard L. Maddox, a British physician, invents the "dry-plate" process, using an emulsion of gelatin, so that photographers did not have to process the pictures immediately. By the late 1870s, exposure time had been reduced to 1/25th of a second.
  • First Motion Photographs

    British photographer Eadweard Muybridge takes the first successful photographs of motion, showing how people and animals move.
  • Kodak Camera

    Kodak Camera
    George Eastman introduces the lightweight, inexpensive Kodak camera, using film wound on rollers.
  • Kinetoscope

    Thomas Edison and W.K. Dickson develop the Kinetoscope, a peep-show device in which film is moved past a light.
  • Projection

    Two French brothers, Louis and August Lumiere patent a combination movie camera and projector, capable of projecting an image that can be seen by many people. In Paris, they present the first commercial exhibition of projected motion pictures.
  • First Film Exchange

    Henry Miles sets up the first film exchange, allowing exhibitors to rent films instead of buying them.
  • Nickelodeon

    Harry Davis opens the first nickelodeon in Pittsburgh.
  • First Animation

    First Animation
    First animated cartoon produced.
  • Publicity

    Studios begin distributing publicity stills of actors and actresses.
  • First Major Studio

    Carl Laemmle organizes Universal Pictures, which will become the first major studio.
  • Sound Experimentation

    Lee DeForrest demonstrates a method for recording sound on the edge of a film strip.
  • First Inflight Movie

    The first inflight movie, a black & white, silent film called The Lost World, is shown in a WWI converted Handley-Page bomber during a 30-minute flight near London.
  • Talkies

    Paramount becomes the first studio to announce that it will only produce "talkies."
  • Acadamy Awards

    Acadamy Awards
    The first Academy Awards are announced, with the award for the best picture in 1927 going to Wings.
  • Drive-In

    The first drive-in movie theater opens in New Jersey.
  • Technicolor Film

    Technicolor introduces a three-color process in the film Becky Sharp.
  • Snow White

    Walt Disney's first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is released.
  • TV

    The first commercial television station begins broadcasting.
  • Contracts

    Seven-year contracts with actors are replaced by single-picture or multi-picture contracts.
  • James Dean

    James Dean
    James Dean dies in a car crash at the age of 26.
  • The Blob

    The Blob and The Fly are released.
  • Smell-O-Vision

    A movie features "Smell-O-Vision."
  • Writers Guild and Communism

    The Writers Guild abandons a 1954 requirement that members not be Communists.
  • HBO

    HBO begins on cable television.
  • First Female Studio Executive

    Sherry Lansing becomes the first woman to head a major studio when she becomes president of 20th Century Fox.
  • Cable TV

    Half of U.S. homes receive cable television.
  • VCR

    76% of homes have VCR's.
  • Titanic

    Titanic, which premiered in 1997, becomes the highest grossing film in Hollywood history, earning $580 million domestically.