Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pauvre Pierrot, Charles-Emile Reynaud, 1892

Yes, you read that date correctly.

Charles-Emile Reynaud
presented this piece at his Théâtre Optique in 1892 - the first presentation of a projected moving picture show, using a modified version of his invention, the praxinoscope:

In 1888, (Reynaud) perfected a large scale projection version, that was similar in design to the projectors that would be used for cinema projection a few years later. Glass plates, individually painted by Reynaud himself, were mounted in leather bands. Each of the bands were connected by a metal strip with a hole through it which allowed it to locate on a pin on the rotating drum and align the image with the projecting lantern. By mounting the connected image strips on a pair of wheels similar to modern film reels, Reynaud was able to create a continuous series of moving images rather than restricting himself to 12 images, as had been the limit previously.

Here is a virtual reconstruction of Reynaud's device:


  1. do you have a source to cite? im looking for more info.

  2. I linked the two Wikipedia articles, and I seem to recall the uploader had some but I know there is more information out there. Just reaching for the first thing on the bookshelf next to me, Ralph Stephenson's The Animated Film puts the date of the opening of Théâtre Optique at 1888 - however, this book, as inspiring as it is, has some known inaccuracies.

  3. As I wrote this, I think I cross-referenced it with some other sites, but I don't recall off the top of my head what they were. I don't usually crack the books when I'm working on YDC, and anyone can tell you I'm no historian, just some schmuck who loves animation a whole lot.