Thomas Armat

Thomas J. Armat (October 25, 1866 – September 30, 1948) was an American mechanic and inventor, a pioneer of cinema best known through the co-invention of the Edison Vitascope.

Thomas J. Armat
BornOctober 25, 1866
DiedSeptember 30, 1948 (aged 81)
Known forVitascope

Biography

Armat studied at the Mechanics Institute in Richmond, Virginia and then in 1894 at the Bliss Electrical School in Washington, D.C., where he met Charles Francis Jenkins. The two classmates teamed up to develop a movie projector using a new kind of intermittent motion mechanism, a "beater mechanism" similar to the one patented 1893 by Georges Demenÿ in France. It was one of the first projectors using what is known as the Latham loop (an extra loop of the film before the transport mechanism to reduce the tension on the film and avoid film breakage, developed independently at the same time by Woodville Latham and his sons). They made their first public projection using their invention, named Phantoscope after an earlier model designed by Jenkins alone, in September 1895 at the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta.

Following this success, the two co-inventors broke up over patent issues. Jenkins tried to claim sole inventorship, but was turned down and sold out to Armat, who subsequently joined and sold the patent to Thomas Edison, who marketed the machine as the 'Vitascope'. The projector was used in a public screening in New York City beginning April 23, 1896 and lasting more than a week.

Working for Edison, Armat refined the projector in 1897 by replacing the beater mechanism with a more precise Geneva drive, duplicating an invention made a year earlier in Germany by Oskar Messter and Max Griewe and in England by Robert William Paul.

In 1947, Armat and William Nicholas Selig, Albert Edward Smith and George Kirke Spoor were awarded a Special Academy Award as representatives of the movie pioneers for their contributions to the film business.

He died on September 30, 1948.[1]

In 2011, he was inducted, posthumously, into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.[2]

References

  1. ^ "Thomas Armat, 81, A Pioneer in Films. Inventor of Vitascope Projector Attributed to Edison, Dies in Capital". New York Times. October 1, 1948. Retrieved 2008-07-16. Thomas Armat, a pioneer in the motion-picture industry, died today at his home. ...
  2. ^ National Inventors Hall of Fame Archived 2012-09-22 at the Wayback Machine

External links

1890s in film

The decade of the 1890s in film involved some significant events.

1895 in film

The following is an overview of the events of 1895 in film, including a list of films released and notable births.

B. B. Kahane

Benjamin "BB" Kahane (November 30, 1891 – September 18, 1960) was an American film producer.

Daniel J. Bloomberg

Daniel J. Bloomberg (July 4, 1905 – August 14, 1984) was an Academy Award-winning audio engineer. Bloomberg's first Hollywood credit was in 1934, his last his Oscar-nominated work on John Ford’s The Quiet Man 18 years later. In the intervening time, he worked on several films in the Dick Tracy and Zorro series.

Although his work was mainly confined to B pictures, Bloomberg did enjoy the distinction of winning five technical awards from the Academy, as well as eight Academy Award nominations. He also won an Honorary Award in 1945 for designing and building a musical scoring auditorium with state-of-the-art acoustics.

Bloomberg was married to award-winning British actress and beauty queen Eugenie Prescott Bloomberg (born: 1909, Cheshire, England, UK) whose film credits include The Rising Generation (1928), The Flying Squad (1929) and Diggers (1931).

Forbidden Games

Forbidden Games (French: Jeux interdits), is a 1952 French war drama film directed by René Clément and based on François Boyer's novel Jeux Interdits.

While not initially successful in France, the film was a hit elsewhere. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, a Special Award as Best Foreign Language Film in the United States, and a Best Film from any Source at the British Academy Film Awards.

Gate of Hell (film)

Gate of Hell (地獄門, Jigokumon, "Gate of Jigoku") is a 1953 Japanese jidaigeki film directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa. It tells the story of a samurai (Kazuo Hasegawa) who tries to marry a woman (Machiko Kyō) he rescues, only to discover that she is married. Filmed using Eastmancolor, Gate of Hell was Daiei Film's first color film and the first Japanese color film to be released outside Japan.

Hal Needham

Hal Brett Needham (March 6, 1931 – October 25, 2013) was an American stuntman, film director, actor and writer. He is best known for his frequent collaborations with actor Burt Reynolds, usually in films involving fast cars, such as Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper, The Cannonball Run and Stroker Ace.

Joseph A. Ball

Joseph Arthur Ball (August 16, 1894 – August 27, 1951) was an American inventor, physicist, and executive at Technicolor. He was the technical director of the first color movie Becky Sharp, and a recipient of an Academy Honorary Award at the 11th Academy Awards for his contributions to color film photography. He held many patents in color photography and was credited with creating the three-component process.

Loudoun Mansion

Loudoun Mansion is a historic house located in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

An example of Federal-style and Greek-revival architecture, the main structure was built by Thomas Armat in 1801 and expanded in 1810. The Greek portico was built in 1830. The house stands on one of the highest hills overlooking Philadelphia and the Delaware River from Germantown. During and after the Battle of Germantown many wounded soldiers were carried to the top of the hill where Loudoun now stands.The house was donated to the City of Philadelphia in 1939. The house is a contributing property of the Colonial Germantown Historic District. It was badly damaged by a fire in 1993 and is not open to the public.It is alluded to significantly throughout the novel Loving Day by the African American novelist Mat Johnson.

Louis Mesenkop

Louis Mesenkop (February 6, 1903 – February 19, 1974) was an American sound engineer. He won two Academy Awards for Best Special Effects and was nominated for another in the same category. Mesenkop was part of the production team who received an Academy Honorary Award at the 11th Academy Awards for their efforts on the Paramount film Spawn of the North.

Loyal Griggs

Loyal Griggs, A.S.C. (August 15, 1906 – May 6, 1978), was an American cinematographer.

Griggs joined the staff of Paramount Pictures in 1924 after graduating from school and initially worked at the studio's process department. He was promoted from assistant photographer to second unit photographer to camera process photographer, before becoming director of photography for three 1951 releases: Crosswinds, Passage West and The Last Outpost.

Griggs won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for the 1953 Western Shane.

He was part of the production team that received an Academy Honorary Award at the 11th Academy Awards for their efforts on the Paramount film Spawn of the North.Griggs' other Paramount films as cinematographer included the 1954 musical White Christmas, the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille epic The Ten Commandments, and the Jerry Lewis comedies The Sad Sack (1957) and Visit to a Small Planet (1960). He was also the cinematographer on George Stevens' 1965 United Artists release The Greatest Story Ever Told as well as Otto Preminger's World War II drama of that same year, In Harm's Way. His final film was the 1971 American International Pictures comedy Bunny O'Hare starring Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine.

Monsieur Vincent

Monsieur Vincent is a 1947 French film about Vincent de Paul, the 17th-century priest and charity worker. It depicts his struggle to help the poor in the face of obstacles such as the Black Death.

In 1949, it won an honorary Academy Award as the best foreign language film released in the United States in 1948. The Vatican placed it amongst their list of approved films under the category of Religion due to its thematic nature in 1995. Pierre Fresnay portrayed Vincent.

Nathan Levinson

Nathan Levinson (July 15, 1888 – October 18, 1952) was an American sound engineer. He won an Oscar in the category Sound Recording for the film Yankee Doodle Dandy and was nominated for 16 more in the same category. He was also nominated seven times in the category Best Special Effects.

The Oscar statue that Levinson won for Yankee Doodle Dandy was sold for nearly $90,000 at an auction in Dallas in July 2011.

Phantoscope

The Phantoscope was a film projection machine, a creation of Charles Francis Jenkins. Created in the early 1890s, he projected the first motion picture before an audience in his hometown of Richmond, Indiana on June 6, 1894. He later met Thomas Armat who provided financial backing for necessary modifications. The two inventors unveiled their modified projector at the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, in September 1895.

Jenkin's machine was the first projector to allow each still frame of the film to be illuminated long enough before advancing to the next frame sequence. This was different from Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope, which simply ran a loop of film with successive images of a moving scene through the camera shutter, which gave a jumbled blur of motion. The Phantoscope, by pausing on each frame long enough for the brain to register a clear single picture, but replacing each frame in sequence fast enough (less than a tenth of a second), produced a smooth and true moving picture. It is from this concept that the entire motion-picture industry has grown.Only one working model was ever built by Jenkins, and it was stolen a few months later from his home by Armat, who sold it to the Gammon theater chain. After a lengthy court battle, Jenkins accepted $2,500 as payment in full. The Franklin Institute awarded a gold medal to Jenkins for his invention as the world's first practical movie projector.

The U.S. Patent Office granted Jenkins a patent for his initial projector and Armat a patent for the modified version. (Both were named Phantoscopes) After Jenkins settled with Armat, Armat sold the whole patent to Thomas Alva Edison. Jenkins continued improving the projector and created motion picture cameras that were eventually used for broadcasting to home receivers by radio waves, or what we know today as, television. Mechanically he broadcast the first television pictures and owned the first commercially licensed television station in the USA.

Piero Tosi

For the castrato singer, see Pier Francesco Tosi.Piero Tosi (born April 10, 1927) is an Italian costume designer.

Vitascope

Vitascope was an early film projector first demonstrated in 1895 by Charles Francis Jenkins and Thomas Armat. They had made modifications to Jenkins patented Phantoscope, which cast images via film and electric light onto a wall or screen. The Vitascope is a large electrically-powered projector that uses light to cast images. The images being cast are originally taken by a kinetoscope mechanism onto gelatin film. Using an intermittent mechanism, the film negatives produced up to fifty frames per second. The shutter opens and closes to reveal new images. This device can produce up to 3,000 negatives per minute. With the original Phantoscope and before he partnered with Armat, Jenkins displayed the earliest documented projection of a filmed motion picture in June 1894 in Richmond, Indiana.

Armat independently sold the Phantoscope to The Kinetoscope Company. The company realized that their Kinetoscope would soon be a thing of the past with the rapidly advancing proliferation of early cinematic engineering. By 1897, just two years after the Vitascope was first demonstrated, the technology was being nationally adopted. Hawaii and Texas were among the first to incorporate the Vitascope into their picture shows.Vitascope was also used briefly as a trademark by Warner Brothers in 1930 for a widescreen process used for films such as Song of the Flame. Warner was trying to compete with other widescreen processes such as Magnascope, Widevision, Natural Vision (no relation to the later 3-D film process), and Fox Grandeur.

W. Howard Greene

William Howard Greene (August 16, 1895, River Point, Rhode Island - February 28, 1956, Los Angeles, California) was an American cinematographer.

William Garity

William E. "Bill" Garity (April 2, 1899 – September 16, 1971) was an American inventor and audio engineer who attended the Pratt Institute before going to work for Lee De Forest around 1921. Garity worked with DeForest on the Phonofilm sound-on-film system until 1927, when Pat Powers hired Garity to develop a sound system that Powers called Powers Cinephone.

Garity is best known for his employment at Walt Disney Studios, which used the Cinephone system in the late 1920s and early 30s. In 1937, also at the Disney Studios, Garity developed the multiplane camera. Ub Iwerks, having left Disney to work at his own studio, developed an unrelated multiplane camera, during this same time period.In 1940, Garity developed Fantasound, an early stereophonic surround sound system for Disney's Fantasia. After leaving the Disney studio, Garity later became vice president and production manager for Walter Lantz Productions. He was inducted in the Disney Legends program in 1999.

Y. Frank Freeman

Young Frank Freeman (14 December 1890 – 6 February 1969) was an American film company executive for Paramount Pictures. Freeman was born in Greenville, Georgia, and graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1910. In addition to his work with Paramount, he also worked in the fields of banking, higher education, and athletics.He was the first winner of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1957. He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. He died in California and was buried at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.

1928–1950
1951–1975
1976–2000
2001–present

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.