Man using an Edison Kinetoscope, c 1894.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Invented by Thomas Edison's Scottish employee, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson (1860-1935), this was the first device to show motion pictures. Looking through the eyepiece at the top of the machine, the viewer saw about 20 seconds of film, which pased through in a continuous loop. Kinetoscope parlours, offering a choice of films, first opened in New York on 14 April 1894 and in London on 18 October 1894. Kinetoscope parlours did not survive the introduction of cinema a year later, by the Lumiere brothers in Paris.