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Dickson, William Kennedy-Laurie (1860-1935)


Main image of Dickson, William Kennedy-Laurie (1860-1935)

A French-born (St.Bue, Brittany, in August 1860) Britisher generally considered to have been crucial to Thomas Edison's 'invention' of the motion picture, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson trained as an electrical engineer, came to the US in 1879, joined Edison's laboratory staff in 1883, and was lead engineer in the inventor's work on the concept of motion pictures later filming a number of subjects in the famed Black Maria studio. In 1895, he left Edison to co-found the American Mutoscope Company.

In 1897, with his wife and sister Antonia (1858-1903), he moved to the UK, where he shot many subjects for British Mutoscope and Biograph Company; also filmed Pope Leo XIII in the Vatican Gardens (1898) and the Boer War. He was the author of The Life and Inventions of Thomas A. Edison (1894), History of the Kinetograph, Kinetoscope and KinetoPhonograph (1895), both with Antonia Dickson, and The Biograph in Battle (1901).

First rescued from Edison's shadow by historians for his technical genius, Dickson's considerable artistry is now gaining praise with the happy discovery of more British Biograph films in recent years.

Anthony Slide, Encyclopedia of British Film

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