The Edison Film


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This site features images acquired directly from the original nitrate-based film

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About The Film

Filmed around 1895, these early experimental films show dancers performing in Thomas Edison's "Black Maria" studio in New Jersey.


The films are unique in that each frame of the original nitrate based stock were hand coloured by the wives of Edison's employees, faithfully recording the artistic innovation and technical achievement of the time.


Further history of Edison's involvement in the birth of the American Movie Industry and detail of the film can be viewed on the history pages. Thumbnails of a selection of stills can be viewed on the images page.

About this site

This site features colour images from early footage made by Thomas Alva Edison's film production company during the pioneering years of the American Cinema.


As well as discussing the films' history, we aim to identify the key personnel involved in their production.


Identification of the dancers proved to be a challenge. We can state with some confidence that the first film features Loe Fuller and her Serpentine Dance, the second Annabelle Whitford performing The Butterfly Dance.


Note that images and clips are taken directly from the original nitrate film. No colour has been added; some restoration and enhancement has been performed.