The Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, were the first to achieve a satisfactory system for taking and projecting moving pictures made on a celluloid strip. Their invention, the Cinématographe, became the world's first commercially successful motion picture camera. The brothers began work designing a camera in 1894, after seeing a piece of Edison Kinetoscope film which had just arrived in Paris. Their successful device with a mechanism based on a sewing machine movement was patented in France on 13 February 1895. The machine combined both a camera and a projector and the perforated film was moved intermittently by a claw mechanism.
Initially the invention was kept secret and only demonstrated at private screenings, where it met with great enthusiasm. Although originally produced in late 1895 in a batch of just ten, these first models were prototypes for trial purposes and not available for sale. It was not until 1896 that the Cinématographe went on sale to the public. The following serial numbers correspond approximately to the years of production; all models were based on the original 1895 patent until a new model was introduced towards the end of 1898: 1895 - nos. 1-10; 1896 - nos. 10-250; 1896-1898 - nos. 250-450.
Cinema was introduced to Spain in 1896 by the Lumières agent and film maker Alexandre Promino, who had arrived the month before. Promino presented a programme of films on 14 May 1896 that had first been shown in Paris the previous December in a public screening that took place at the Hotel de Rusia, 34 Carrera de San Jeronimo, Madrid, where it ran continuously.
Among the spectators at this first screening was Eduardo Jimeno Peromarta, an eboniste born in Zaragoza in 1846, and his son Eduardo Jimeno Correas, born in 1870. Travelling showmen who combined panorama, automata and later cinema in their displays, the Jimenos ran a permanent waxwork booth and miniature theatre called Salon Meravillas in Glorieta Square, Bilbao. 1896 was an important year for the family, as Eduardo Jimeno Correas would leave the largest theatre in Zaragoza to tour Spain with his father's Travelling Panoramic Exhibition.
The magic and novelty of moving pictures entranced the Jimenos who were keen to incorporate this new invention in their show. After an unsuccessful tour using a projector (more expensive but less satisfactory than the Cinématographe) purchased from Vernée in Paris, Jimeno Permarta travelled to the Lumières' own factory in Lyon in 1896 to purchase the genuine device. Their first screening with a Lumière projector took place before an audience of two hundred in Burgos in September 1896, followed by performances in Seville, Corunna and, on 15 December, at the Napoleon Photographic Studio, Barcelona.
However, it was in his native Zaragoza in October 1896 that Jimeno Correras made what is believed to be the first Spanish film, a Lumière-style 'short' entitled Salida de Misa de Doce del Pilar de Zaragoza ('Exit from the Midday Mass at the Virgin of the Pillar, Zaragoza'). The historic film was first shown in the town where it was made on 11 October 1896. An original print is included with the outfit offered here. The sequence was filmed again the following Sunday, 18 October, and projected with the same the camera - presumbably Cinématographe No. 212 - using a projection stand and a standard lamphouse for the light source.
The Jimenos' Salon Meravillas, relocated and re-named the Jimenographe, became the first permanent cinema in Spain. In 1899 the Jimeongraphe became the Palacio de Proyecciones Animadas and, after various name and address changes, it continues in business today as the Proyecciones Cinesa at 136 Fuencarral, Madrid - ten doors away from its location a century earlier. Of more than twenty-six cinemas listed in Madrid in 1907, many were operated by the Jimenos, whose example was to inspire other pioneers in the fledgling Spanish film industry.
The films offered in this lot are mainly from the Lumière catalogue on Lumière perforated stock dating between 1895-1900. Of the two cameras, Cinématographe No. 212 was probably purchased first and used as both camera and projector until Cinématographe No. 246 was acquired for filming, which may account for the greater wear on the earlier camera. The serial numbers of both cameras indicate manufacture in 1896.
Jimeno Correas is shown with a Cinématographe (apprently one of the two offered here) in Vidal (p. 226).