Auguste Lumière and Louis Lumière are French inventors who pioneered photographic equipment and manufactured the first motion picture camera and projector known as Cinématographe, which led to a new form of art and entertainment known as Cinema. They were both born in Besancon, France and are sons of Antoine Lumière, a painter turned photographer. When they settled in Lyon, their father opened up a manufacturing business for the production of photographic plates. At a young age of 17, Louis Lumière experimented with his father’s equipment and discovered a new way to commercially develop film by inventing the “dry plate” method. This enabled their business to grow and led them to opening another factory. In a span of a year, they were able to produce 15 million plates. In the same year, Antoine went to Paris to attend an exhibition that showcased Edison’s Kinetoscope. He received a length of film from the concessionaries and brought it back to Lyon to show it to his sons. This inspired them to come up with a faster and smaller, low cost alternative to the Kinetograph, a device that could only show a motion picture to one person at a time. In 1894, they were able to figure out a way to show films to more people at the same time by projecting it onto a large screen. The device they created was called the Cinématographe, the first film camera that enabled them to record, develop and project motion pictures using a single device. Its mechanism used pins and holes to project images faster, based on the way a sewing machine worked. It was operated with the use of a hand-powered crank showing images at a speed of 16 frames per second. The Lumière brothers used it to shoot the very first motion picture, “La Sortie des ouvriers de l’usine Lumière” or “Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory”. This was first shown in 1895, at an industrial meeting in Paris, which was followed by numerous private screenings. On December 28, 1895, they publicly unveiled the Cinématographe at the Grand Cafe on Paris’ Boulevard de Capuchines.
In the next year, they continued making more than 40 films. Their films were mostly about everyday life in France, and they also created the first newsreel and documentaries and sent out cameramen-projectionists to record around the world using their invention. Various Cinématographe theaters were also opened in London, Brussels, Belgium and New York. They stopped creating movies in 1905 to develop the first practical photographic color process called the Lumière Autochrome.Pruitt,
Sarah. “The Lumière Brothers, Pioneers of Cinema.” History.com, A&E Television Networks,
3 Oct. 2014, www.history.com/news/the-lumiere-brothers-pioneers-of-cinema.