his time at Edison, W.K.L Dickson, it seems, had close association
with 'rival' inventors which included the Lathams and Henry
It was to the latter that, it was alleged, Dickson
offered advice concerning a simple alternative to the Kinetoscope.
With his partner, Herman Casler, Marvin took
Dickson's proposal - an elaboration of the flick-book principle
- and set to work. Together they worked on their device which
was perfected and patented with the name Mutoscope by Casler
on November 21st 1894.
Expanding on the flick-book principle, the Mutoscope
contained a sequence of photographs which were arranged around
the perimeter of a drum. A simple turn of a handle flipped
the cards rapidly, giving the impression of movement.
The Mutoscope was, like the Kinetoscope, a Peepshow
device and included a viewing aperture which customers peered
into to watch the action. Unlike the Kinetoscope the Mutoscope
didnít rely on any special illumination or an electric motor
and gave viewers much greater control over the viewing - for
example they could control the speed at which the action took
place or turning the handle in the reverse direction produced
Casler had perfected a camera for the Mutoscope
to produce films and was in operation by early June of 1895
with some of the first films, it is believed, taken by Dickson.
The camera was named the Biograph.
In November 1895 the Mutoscope was adapted with
a mirror device, the result was projected motion pictures
from a Mutoscope. It wasnít long before Casler and his partners
perfected a through-the-film projector which took the name
The partnership of Dickson, Marvin, Casler and
Elias Koopman led to the formation of the American Mutoscope
Company on December 27th 1895.