The oldest moving picture known is a 2.11-second clip from 1888: Roundhay Garden Scene. Since then the art and science of movies has expanded to include the full range of storytelling tricks that we can recognize in our movies. These days images are captured—and sometimes completely fabricated—by advanced digital technology, but the stories are the same: “the old universal truths ... love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice” (William Faulkner, Stockholm, 1950). Here, from the Archive of Scientific American, are a few snapshots from the movies from a century ago.
This article was originally published with the title "The Movies, 1917" in Scientific American 316, 5, (May 2017)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Dan Schlenoff edits the "50, 100 & 150 Years Ago" column for Scientific American. He is a keen student of the role of science in history.