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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
West Orange in Essex County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Making Movies

Edison National Historic Site, NJ

 
 
Making Movies Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 6, 2009
1. Making Movies Marker
Inscription. In 1893 the Black Maria became the world’s first building constructed as a motion picture studio. This odd-shaped structure was designed to keep sunlight on the stage while Edison’s film pioneers made kinetoscope films.

Although most filming took place around noon, the Black Maria could use available sunlight at all hours. During filming, the angled roof was opened using pulleys to allow sunlight in the studio. The entire building rested on a pivot and wood track. As the sun’s angle changed during the day, Edison’s movie makers periodically stopped filming to push the Black Maria around a few feet to keep sunlight on its stage.
 
Erected by Edison National Historic Site, National Park Service.
 
Location. 40° 47.056′ N, 74° 14.018′ W. Marker is in West Orange, New Jersey, in Essex County. Marker can be reached from Main Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is located in the Edison National Historic Site. Marker is in this post office area: West Orange NJ 07052, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Black Maria Replica (here, next to this marker); The Black Maria (a few steps from this marker); The Courtyard
Marker in Edison National Historic Site image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 6, 2009
2. Marker in Edison National Historic Site
(a few steps from this marker); Edison Cement Slab (a few steps from this marker); Thomas Edison’s West Orange Laboratory (within shouting distance of this marker); The Truck of the Second Commercial Electric Railroad Locomotive. (within shouting distance of this marker); The Truck of the First Commercial Electric Railroad Locomotive. (within shouting distance of this marker); Blacksmith Shop – Building 7 (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in West Orange.
 
More about this marker. The bottom left of the marker contains a photograph of the Black Maria with the roof opened. It has a caption of “Motion picture pioneer W.K.L. Dickson (left, third from right on top of the Black Maria) poses with assistants, 1895. The original Black Maria stood from 1893 to 1903 on a site near the water tower behind you. This replica was built in 1954.” The bottom right contains a series of photographs from an early short film, with the caption “In 1894 long-time Edison assistant Fred Ott was filmed by W.K.L. Dickson in ‘Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a
Making Movies Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 6, 2009
3. Making Movies Marker
Sneeze’ (right) – one of the first motion picture close-ups.” The marker’s upper right features a scene for another Edison film. The caption reads “In an early sound film experiment produced in 1894 (right), W.K.L. Dickson – Thomas Edison’s chief motion picture assistant - plays a violin as two men dance. The kinetophone, a ‘talking pictures’ system introduced by Edison in 1912, proved unreliable and was soon abandoned. Practical sound films were not achieved until the late 1920’s.”
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a tour of the markers found at the Laboratory Complex of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
 
Also see . . .
1. Thomas Edison National Historical Park, New Jersey. Nation Park Service website. (Submitted on November 6, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, Jan. 7, 1894. Edison kinetoscopic record of "Fred Ott's Sneeze" from the Library of Congress. (Submitted on July 1, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. "Dickson Experimental Sound Film" (First live-recording EVER) 1894 . (Submitted on July 1, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
 
Categories. EntertainmentIndustry & Commerce
 
The Black Maria image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 6, 2009
4. The Black Maria
The slanted roof on the right of the structure could open to allow sunlight on the stage during filming.
Making Movies Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 6, 2009
5. Making Movies Marker
The Interior of the Black Maria can be seen in this photo. A dedication plaque appears at the right of the doorway.
Black Maria Dedication Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 6, 2009
6. Black Maria Dedication Plaque
This building is a replica of the
original “Black Maria”, the world’s
first motion picture studio.
-----------------
Dedicated to the memory of
Thomas Alva Edison
the founder of the
motion picture industry.
September 22, 1954
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 667 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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