The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of Indigenous Cultural Material. This includes artworks, artifacts, images and recordings of people who may have passed away, and other objects which may be culturally sensitive.
97/99/1 Film projector and accessories, 22 mm 'Edison Home Kinetoscope', S.N. 3432, metal / wood / glass / textile, made by Thomas A Edison Inc, Orange, New Jersey. United States of America, c.1912. Click to enlarge.

Edison Home Kinetoscope with accessories

Made by Thomas A Edison Inc in Orange, New Jersey, United States of America, 1907-1917.

The Edison Home Kinetoscope was significant on account of its unique 22 mm film format and method of projection (see design). Its introduction in 1912, also helped open up an important additional market for cinema equipment manufacturers and cinema film producers - “the home”. At the time amateur film cameras and projectors utilised a variety of film sizes up to 17.5mm. By introducing a larger 22mm film owners were forced to buy and/or rent films, made by Edison’s studios, distributed via a netw...


Object No.


Object Statement

Film projector and accessories, 22 mm 'Edison Home Kinetoscope', S.N. 3432, metal / wood / glass / textile, made by Thomas A Edison Inc, Orange, New Jersey. United States of America, c.1912

Physical Description

Film projector and accessories, 22 mm 'Edison Home Kinetoscope', S.N. 3432, metal / wood / glass / textile, made by Thomas A Edison Inc, Orange, New Jersey. United States of America, c.1912

Projector complete with optics, lamp house, two take-up spools, six films in containers, eight carbon-arc filaments, carry-case, rheostat and projection screen.

Projector: electro-mechanical device, mounted on a wooden base with Bausch and Lomb optics. The projector is made up of a black painted metal lamp house that opens to reveal the carbon-arc lamp. The mechanism is mounted in front of the lamp house and is of black painted metal and unfinished metal, it comprises the lenses and the film winding mechanism. The part of the winding mechanism that holds the spools is detachable for storage, as is the winding handle and the metal winding belt. There is also a spare metal screw in knob of metal.

Carry case: rectangular metal carry case painted black, the front and top of the case flip open for access to the projector. The case fastens at the front with two metal locks and there is a leather carry handle attached to the top.

Rheostat: cylindrical rheostat made with a corroded metal casing that has small holes punched out all over. Two fabric covered electrical cords are attached to the base one has a black Bakelite plug at the end and the other has cut. This rheostat is for direct current for 100 to 125 volts.

Carbon arc filaments: there are eight carbon arc rods, all cylindrical and five of which are broken pieces.

Projection screen: screen made of canvas with one side covered in a brilliant white coating with a thick black border around the edge.

Films: six packaged film spools for the Home Kinetoscope, each is packaging in a metal tin with lid. Titled 'Class B How Simple!', 'Class H How Washington Crossed the Delaware', 'Class D Target Practice Atlantic Fleet', 'Colonial Days and Ways', 'Class H Care of Babies', 'City of Washington'.


Projector: maker's plate on the front 'EDISON/HOME KINETOSCOPE/MANUFACTURED BY/THOMAS A. EDISON, INC.,/ORANGE, N.J., U.S.A./SERIAL NO. 3432/PATENTED/NO. 578,185, MARCH 2, 1897./NO 586, 953, JULY 20, 1897,/OTHER PATENTS PENDING./...distribution information...'. Painted in cream on the side 'TRADE/Thomas A Edison/MARK'.

Carry case: painted in yellow in the front panel 'Edison'.

Rheostat: maker's plate on the front 'EDISON/HOME KINETOSCOPE RHEOSTAT/UNDERWRITER'S MODEL/THOMAS A. EDISON, INC.,/ORANGE, N.J./...product information...'.



In 1912 Thomas A Edison's manufacturing company, based in Orange, New Jersey, U.S.A., introduced the Edison Home Kinetoscope to the American and later European market. The Home Kinetoscope was designed for home-cinema enthusiasts and utilised 22mm non-flam acetate film, "safety film", instead of 35 mm cellulose nitrate film. The Home Kinetoscope had three rows of images sized 4 x 6 mm, separated by two rows of perforations. One column of images was cranked forward, the middle row backwards and the third row forwards again. A camera was never produced and films had to be purchased or rented from an authorised Edison distributor. Patent no. 578,185 March 2, 1897 & 586,953, July 20,1897.

Manufactured by Thomas A. Edison Inc., Orange, New jersey, U.S.A. c.1912.



Used by Mr. Charles Edward Allingham [Australia], c.1930. Mr Allingham purchased the Patersons Pharmacist, 384 Darling St, Balmain, in 1930. His niece believes it was around this time that he purchased the Kinetoscope at auction. After Mr Allingham's death, in late 1995, his sister and niece were charged with disposing of his estate.

The steady evolution of professional cinema in the last hundred years, is in part due to the adoption of the internationally recognised 35 mm format in 1909. (Motion Pictures Patents Company). However fierce competition in the home-cinema industry at the beginning of the century, led to a number of competing film sizes and systems. The first attempt at the development and distribution of a mass produced amateur camera/projector system was Robert Paul and Birt Acres' 17.5mm Birtac in 1899. More successful was Heinrich Ernemann, who in 1903 introduced the Kino 1. Aside from French experiments in the early 1900s with both 15mm and 21 mm formats, little further development took place in amateur film until 1912, when first Edison's Home Kinetoscope and later the French company Pathe's 28mm Kok projector, were released. On account of its increased film size and reliability, the Pathe Kok proved to be far more successful and was accepted as the standard for portable film projectors by the US Society of Motion Picture Engineers. Until 1923, when Kodak introduced 16 mm films (accepted as SMPE standard in 1932), Pathe's 28mm projectors were preferred by most home-cinema enthusiasts in the USA, Europe and Australia.

The Thomas A. Edison company is closely associated with the early history of Australian cinema. Australia's first cinematic experience was via an Edison Kinetoscope. On 30 November 1894 this machine made its Australian public debut when James McMahon opened a "Kinetoscope parlour" at 148 Pitt Street, Sydney, only a year after the very first Kinetoscope parlour was opened in New Jersey, USA. This early Kinetoscope however was not a projector, instead the public queued up and individually viewed a moving image through a small view-finder. In 1895, thirty years before Al Johnson burst into song in the Jazz singer (1928), another significant Edison invention made its Australian debut - the Kinetophone - a combination phonograph and kinetoscope that produced both images and sound. By the turn of the century these early Edison kinetoscopes were superseded by Lumiere cinematographe projector technology, which the Thomas A. Edison company soon incorporated into a new generation of Kinetoscopes, of which the Edison Home Kinetoscope is an example. Thomas A. Edison Inc. products including, electric meters, light bulbs, phonographs and telephones were widely distributed in Australia and it is likely that this particular Kinetoscope was imported and distributed from the Thomas A. Edison Ltd headquarters at 364 - 372 Kent street, Sydney.


Australia, Oceania c.1930


Credit Line

Gift of Mrs Dorothy Fawcett, 1997

Acquisition Date

21 April 1997

Cite this Object


Edison Home Kinetoscope with accessories 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 June 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Edison Home Kinetoscope with accessories |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 June 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Know more about this object?


Have a question about this object?