Edison’s Black Maria – The America’s first film production studio in West Orange

The cinematographic Theater, was completed on the grounds of Edison’s laboratories at West Orange, New Jersey, for the purpose of making film strips for the Kinetoscope. Construction of the building, which included a tar-paper-covered dark studio room with a retractable roof, began in December 1892.

When Edison built a glass-enclosed rooftop movie studio in New York City, the Black Maria was closed in January 1901, and Edison demolished the building in 1903. The U. S. National Park Service maintains a reproduction of the Black Maria, built in 1954 at what is now the Edison National Historic Site in West Orange / Image source

In early May 1893 at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, Edison conducted the world’s first public demonstration of films shot using the Kinetograph in the Black Maria, with a Kinetoscope viewer. The exhibited film showed three people pretending to be blacksmiths.

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