|History of Animation 15,000 B.C. - 1899|
|c. 15,000 - 13,000 B.C.
Cave paintings in Lascaux, France and Altamira, Spain. Cave artists used charcoal to outline thousands of images of mostly animals. They then used red and yellow ochre to create tonal shading. The images were drawn randomly in two dimensional profile with no hint of background surroundings. Clear acetate cels would not come into use for another 17,000 years or so.
c. 5000 B.C.
Sumerians begin to write using picture language. Egyptians evolve this into heiroglyphics and also invent a type of paper made from the papyrus reed. Animation punches for registration are not invented for a few thousand years.
c. 2350 B.C.
Egyptian tombs are adorned with thousands of hieroglyphics illustrating the life, death and afterlife of their kings. This art form was built on rigid drawing formulas which left the artwork very static. These artists would probably have benifitted from some extra life drawing classes.
c. 2000 B.C.
c. 1250 B.C.
c. 650 B.C.
Aesop begins writing his fables for animation. Eventually cuts a deal with Jay Ward.
c. 600 B.C.
Mesopotamia's predominant art form of bas-relief sculpture. These elaborate wall carvings depict scene after scene of the king's military exploits. An early form of storyboarding.
c. 350 B.C.
Aristotle describes image projection in terms of the camera obscura.
c. 65 B.C.
Titus Lucretius Carus, a Roman poet and philosopher, (98 - 55 BC) -- first reference to persistence of vision.
Jesus Christ is born.
Chinese develop a paper which is made of vegetable fibres.
Ptolomy of Alexandria rediscovers the phenomenon of persistence of vision and then proves it.
During the Tang Dynasty in China the shadow puppet shows prove to be a very popular form of entertainment.
A printed book, The Diamond Sutra, is made in China using wood blocks for printing. By 932, the Chinese are mass producing books using the wood block printing method.
Circa 1268 - 1289
Circa 1285 - 1290
The 15th Century
The 16th Century
In 1543, Copernicus published his theory that the Earth was not the center of the universe, rather, the Earth and the other planets orbited around the Sun. Called the Copernican Revolution, his theory forever changed astronomy, and ultimately changed all of science.
During 16th century, advancements were made in the theories of mathematics, cosmography, geography and natural history. 16th century inventions related to the fields of engineering, mining, navigation and the military arts were prominent.
Coffee made from South American beans is drunk in Europe for the first time. When it is eventually exported to North America it helps to drive the animation industry further into the nights.
Gemma Frisius, an astronomer, used the pinhole in his darkened room to study the solar eclipse of 1544. He described it along with a description in his 'De Radio Astronomica et Geometrica' (1545). The first picture of a pinhole camera obscura is a drawing in this publilcation.
Geronimo Cardano makes the first camera lens.
Gemma Frisius constructs a functional 'Camera Obscura'
William Shakespeare, playwrite is born (1564 - 1610). He wrote his stories with animation in mind but had to settle for actors instead.
The first pencil with graphite lead and a wooden cover is designed in Switzerland.
Grinding of lenses and prisms is refined. Study of light and motion is greatly improved.
Dutch spectacle maker, Zacharias Janssen, invents the microscope.
Cervantes, a Spaniard, writes Don Quixote, the first proper novel.
Dutchman Hans Lippershey, invents the first telescope.
After a night of drinking with Francis Bacon and other buds, William Shakespeare dies on his 46th birthday. Many animators still perform this ritual of going out for drinks with their co-workers... they skip the part about dying though. Shakespeare's plays are published for the first time in book form in 1623, 13 years after his death.
Galileo Galilei, a brilliant Italian matematician, astronomer and physicist, discovers how the pendulum works. The pendulum swing is one of the primary animation assignments in most animation schools today.
Athanasius Kircher publishes his Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae (The Great Art of Light and Shadow) in Rome.
European scientists experiment with lanterns and their potential for entertainment.
A written description of a new invention called the magic lantern.
Punch and Judy puppet shows are shown for the first time in London, England.
Samuel Pepys buys a lanthorn with pictures in glasse to make strange things to appear on a wall from optician Richard Reeves.
Kircher creates a series of slides depicting scenes from the life of Christ and presents them to audiences.
The Dodo becomes extinct, contrary to the time period shown in the movie, Ice Age.
In the Netherlands, Johannes Zahn publishes instructions for making a lantern into a projecting clock.
Sir Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727) writes the Principia. The Law of Gravity is defined and is the basis for most of the animation principles used today
The first Russian newspaper, Moskovskya Vyedomosti, is published.
The first American newspaper, Boston Newsletter, (by far an easier title to pronounce than the Russian newspaper) is published.
Benjamin Franklin is born
Dutchman Pieter van Musschenbroeck shows visions of a windmill with revolving arms, a man raising his hat and a woman bowing.
Benjamin Franklin announces his most important invention, the lightning conductor, which proves the existance of electricity, which we now use to power our animation light tables and electric pencil sharpeners, by golly!
Sir Thomas Wedgewood records light images in an early photography experiment.
Dominique Seraphin presents shadow puppet shows at Versailles. Popular since the Tang Dynasty in China (618 -907 A.D.) They were known as Omres Chinoises or Chinese Shadows
The 1st newspaper cartoon. In his Pennsylvainia Gazette, Ben Franklin prints a drawing of a segmented snake representing the colonies, with the caption: Join or Die.
July 4th - America becomes a country. The Declaration of Independance is signed.
July 4th - King George III writes in his diary, Nothing important happened today.
Nicholas Conte, inventor of Conte crayons is born
German astrologer, Frederick Herschel, discovers the planet Uranus and is promptly punched in the mouth by his wife as he exclaims to her, "I can see Uranus!"
Wilhelm Carl Grimm is born, writer of the Grimms Fairy Tales.
Etienne Gaspard Robert of Liege opens his eerie Fantasmagorie in Paris. Showing lantern slide portraits of recent dead heroes of the French Revolution. His show ends with a slide of the Grim Reaper... the fate that awaits us all.
Paul De Philipstahl show the Phantasmagoria to Londoners. Similar to the French version, London children steal money and stay out late to see the show.
Phantasmagoria opens in New York. Later, several shows open in many other American cities.
Hans Christian Anderson, author is born
Rev. Hannibal Goodwin, inventor of the use of celluloid as an emulsion base is born
Peter Mark Roget (of Thesaurus fame) publishes Persistence of Vision with Regard to Moving Objects
Thaumatrope is invented
French chemist, Nicephore Niepce (1765 - 1833) makes the first surviving photographic image on a polished pewter plate, exposed for 8 hours.
Simon Von Stampher an Austrian Geologist invents the Stroboscope.
Edweard Muybridge is born
Louis Daguerre (1789 - 1851) and Joseph Niepce (1765 - 1833) are successful in their experiments with photography.
Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau (1801-1883) invents the phenakistoscope ("spindle viewer") (also called a fantoscope or phantasmascope). A large disc with a series of drawings around the circumference is attached on a spindle to another disc made of metal with slots in it. Both are made to rotate. When the drawings are viewed through the slots in the metal disc they appear to move.
Walter Hunt invents the first lock-stitch sewing machine, but loses interest and does not patent his invention. Later, Elias Howe secures patent on an original lock-stitch machine, but fails to manufacture and sell it. Still later, Isaac Singer infringes on Howe's patent to make his own machine, which makes Singer rich. Hunt also invents the safety pin, which he sells outright for $400.
William Horner invents the Daedalum (Wheel of the Devil).
William Henry Fox Talbot begins his potographic investigations.
Wheatstone invents the Stereoscope showing the viewer 3D images.
Morse invents the Telegraph.
Louis Daguerre announces the birth of photography (William Fox Talbot (1800 - 1877) says that Daguerre is full of pate and that he actually invented photography first. Actually, Sir Thomas Wedgewood says he recorded light images as early as 1770.)
Fox Talbot develops negative photographic images on glass then turns them into positive
images on paper.
Punch Magazine, a magazine that featured satirical articles and cartoons makes it"s debut. The magazine quickly gains a reputation as "a defender of the oppressed and a radical scorge of all authority." with it"s viciousl ridicule politicians and business men who exploited poor. Punch Magazine is obviously a forerunner to some of todays humor magazines like Mad Magazine, National Lampoon, & Spy.
Thomas Eakins (1844 - 1916) along with Eadweard Muybridge are the first to take a rapid, multiple exposure photograph of a pole-vaulter named George Reynolds. Muybridge would go on to persue this study of human movement further, creating a series of photo studies that are still used by animators today.
Samuel F.B. Morse demonstrates his telegraph by sending a message to Baltimore from the chambers of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. The message, "What hath God wrought?," marks the beginning of a new era in communication.
Thomas Edison is born (1847 - 1931).
King Louis Philippe is overthrown. Year of Revolutions in France
Uncle Sam is born. The faniliar image first appeared as a cartoon in the New York Lantern. The name derived from that of a customs agent named Sam Wilson who stamped U.S. on goods moving from Canada to the U.S.
Austrian Franz Von Uchatius devises an early version of the Zoopraxinoscope, perfected by
Eadweard Muybridge in 1879, 16 years later.
George Eastman, inventor is born (Eastman-Kodak)
Animator Emile Cohl born
U.S. Civil War begins. (1861 - 1865)
Coleman Sellers patents the Kinematoscope.
The golden age of children's books. Fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen, Louisa May Alcott writes, Little Women, and in 1865, Lewis Carroll writes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
John Henry Pepper and Henry Dircks patent Projecting Images of Living Persons in the Air
Constantin Stanislavski, credited with creating "Method acting", teacher and author is born.
French inventor, Louis Ducos du Hauron patents (but does not build) a machine for making and projecting motion pictures.
Abraham Lincoln is assassinated.
Canada becomes a country. (Not as a result of Lincoln being assasinated).
Cartoon drawings first appear in Vanity Fair.
Windsor McKay is born Sept. 26th in Spring Lake, Michigan (1867 - 1934) (he later reports that he was born in 1871)
The Daedalum (Wheel of the Devil) invented in 1834 is renamed the Zoetrope (Wheel of Life) and becomes a popular toy.
Other names were tried and discarded before settling on the Zoetrope, such as the Pooposcope, Drumascope, Phenetakistocloposcope and of course, the ill fated Spinalottatimestoseethemovementium-O-Scopum
The Kineograph is invented A.K.A. The Flipbook It is used as giveaway advertisements and merchandise bonuses.
A patent is taken out on celluloid, the basis of movie film and animation cels. The inventor had been trying to invent a substitute for ivory billiard balls.
Leland Stanford hires Eadweard Muybridge to find out if a trotting horse has all 4 feet off the ground. He shoots 25 sequential photos per second to find out. (They do all come off the ground)
Remington Co. mass produces the first modern typewriter. Inspired by a Scientific American article featuring a British attempt at a typing machine, Christopher Latham Sholes invents his own. In 1873 he sells an improved prototype to Remington and Sons, gunsmiths, of Ilion, New York, who begin to mass produce the machines. Among the first works to be produced on a typewriter is Mark Twain's "Adventures of Tom Sawyer."
Raoul Barre is born (1874 - 1932)
Arthur Melbourne-Cooper is born (director, animator, producer)
Houdini is born
J. Stuart Blackton born (1875 - 1941)
Alexander Graham Bell invents the Telephone. Alexander Graham Bell patents his telephone, built with the assistance of young self-trained engineer Thomas A. Watson. Elisha Gray, who developed a similar device at about the same time, will unsuccessfully challenge Bell's patent.
Joseph Keppler, a cartoonist, establishes Puck Magazine. A humor mad which features both text articles and cartoons much in the manner of Punch Magazine but with a more consevative stance. Puck starts out as a German language weekly.
Emil Reynaud invents the Praxinoscope.
Thomas Edison invents the Phonograph. Working with a team of engineers at his Menlo Park, New Jersey, laboratories, Thomas Alva Edison perfects a system of sound recording and transmission. The first recording replayed is a voice saying "Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow."
Muybridge perfects and constructs the Zoopraxinoscope.
An English language verion of Puck Magazine begins circulation. The magazine would lose money in it"s first year, being subsidized by the successful German, version however by the 1880"s circulation would increase to 80,000 copies a week. The magazine would feature well known artists of the day such as Fredrick Burr Opper (who would later go on to create Happy Hooligan), James Wales, Livingston Hopkins, Eugene Zimmerman, & Bernard Gillam.
An anarchist tries unsuccessfully to assasinate the Kaiser of Germany. The anarchists believed that freedom could only happen when the rules of scociety were broken down. European politicians feared the mysterious men in trenchcoats with bombs that looked like bowling balls with fuses. (see MAD magazine's "Spy v.s. Spy")
John Randolph Bray born (1879 - 1978)
Backed by $30,000 in research funds provided by investors including J.P. Morgan and the Vanderbilts, Thomas Edison perfects an incandescent light bulb. The first commercial incandescent system will be installed at the New York printing firm of Hinds and Ketcham in January, 1881.
Earl Hurd born (1879 -)
The Zoopraxiscope is invented.
Reynaud combines the Praxinoscope with a projector, drawing animated stories on long strips of paper then later on strips of celluloid.
Ladislas Starewicz (Wladyslaw Starewicz) is born (animator, director, producer)
Max Fleischer born. (1883 - 1972)
Leon Schlesenger born (1883 - )
Frank King, cartoonist - Gasoline alley is born
Harvy Wilcox names his new ranch north of L.A. Hollywood.
Pat Sullivan is born (producer, director, animator)
Willis OBrien animator of King Kong is born.
Coca Cola is first sold as a "brain tonic".
William Randolph Hearst buys the San Francisco Examiner and begins his publishing empire.
Paul Terry born (Terrytoons) (1887 - 1971)
Etienne - Jules Marley experiments with the movement of abstract shapes photographed in
color onto glass plates.
Friese - Greene and Mortimer Evans develop the Box Projector
Edison's tube recording system produces distorted sound because of gravity's pressure on the playing stylus. Emile Berliner, a German immigrant living in Washington, DC, invents a process for recording sound on a horizontal disc. The "platter" record is born.
Emile Reynaud demonstrates a device (later called a theatre optique) that projected animated images that were painted on long strips of celluloid. This allowed for animated films long enough to be have a story rather than just be a demonstration of a moving object. The first film that was created was called Un bon bock ("A Good Beer").
Carl Stalling is born (song writer)
Louis Le Prince claims a patent on cinema camera, predating Edison and Lumiere. He boards a train to Dijon and is never seen or heard from again.
In Rochester, New York, George Eastman introduces a hand-held box camera for portable use. The camera is pre-loaded with 100 exposure film; after shooting the photographer returns the whole camera to the manufacturer for development and a reload.
Dickson demonstrates the Kinetophone to Edison.
Charlie Chaplin is born
Charles Bowers is born (producer, director, writer, animator)
Joe Fleischer is born (1889 - 1979)
Billy DeBeck, cartoonist is born creator of Barney Google
Charles Thorson (character designer)
Grim Natwick (Myron Natwick) (animator, director, character designer)
Gregory La Cava (director, producer, writer, animator)
Edison manufactures the Kinetoscope as a private viewer.
Lou Fleischer is born (1891 - 1985)
Burt Gillett is born (director)
Emile Reynaud opens his Theatre Optique at the Musee Grevin in Paris. His films: Poor Pierrot, 15 min. A good Glass of Beer, 15 min. A Clown and His Dogs, 10 min. are accompanied with music and electronically triggered sound effects. He gives aproximately 500,000 performances between 1892 and 1900.
Wladyslaw Starewicz, puppet animator is born
Otto Messmer, animator is born (Felix the Cat) (1892 - 1983)
Pinto Colvig (Vance Colvig) is born (voice actor, writer, director)
Edison builds the first motion picture studio in New Jersey. The black paper covered shed is nicknamed The Black Maria because it resembles a police van.
Roy O. Disney, co-founder The Walt Disney Company is born
Ronald Reader, James Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith form The International Novelty Company performing magic and lightning drawings.
Dave Fleischer is born (1894 - 1979)
Bill Nolan (William C. Nolan) (director, animator)
The First Color newspaper page is printed in The New York Recorder. One year later, The New York World, headed by Joseph Pulitzer, publishes it"s first color page.
Augustine and Luis Lumieres have their first public showing of cinematographe films at the Grand Cafe in Paris.
Richard Felton Outcault's The Yellow Kid makes his debut in Pulitzer's New York World newspaper.
Ben Sharpsteen is born (director, producer, animator)
Edison invents the Mutoscope, a mechanical version of the flip book. It is a machine that becomes popular at amusement parks, (not a machine used for mutating people.).
Max Skananowsky completes the Bioskop projector.
Reader, Smith and Blackton form the Vitagraph Company.
Edisons first show in New York.
Robert Paul demonstrates a Kinetograph to the Royal Institute, and British cinema is born.
"The Yellow Kid" begins publication as a weekly Newspaper feature.
Hans Fischerkoesen (director, producer)
Marconi demonstrates wireless telegraphy in England.
Blackton produces his first film: The Thief on the Roof
Hearst"s Examiner establishes it"s Sunday comics supplement, The American Humorist featuring "The Yellow Kid".
Rudolph Dirk's "The Katzenjammer Kids" debut as part of the American Humorist.
Richard Felton Outcault moves "The Yellow Kid" from Pulitzer"s New York World to William Randolph Hearst"s San Franscisco Examiner.
The Battle of Manila Bay. Admiral Dewey begins the battle by saying to his captain, You may fire when ready, Gridley. (Sorry, Bugs Bunny didnt say it first.)
Dick Huemer, storyman is born
Ken Harris is born (animator)
Yasuji Murata (Murata Yasuji) (director, animator, producer)
Sanae Yamamoto (Yamamoto Sanae, Yamamoto Zenjiro) (director, producer, animator)
Muybridge publishes Animals in Motion a book still widely used as reference by animators.
Smith and Blackton travel to Cuba to shoot footage of the Spanish-American war. They miss the fight at Santiago Bay. After returning home, they make cutouts of the boats and photograph themin an inch of water, manuvering them with thin threads. They use cigar smoke to create the special effects of the battle.
British animator, Artur Melbourne Cooper produces possibly the first animated commercial Match Appeal by stop motion photography of matchsticks.
Lotte Reininger, silhouette animator, director of the first animated feature is born. (1899 - 1981)
Valentina Brumberg is born (Russian animator, director)
1900 - 1910