Inventing Entertainment: The Edison Companies showcases the work of prolific inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931). Known as the "Wizard of Menlo Park," Edison patented 1,093 inventions, including the phonograph, the kinetograph (a motion picture camera), and the kinetoscope (a motion picture viewer). In addition to being a renowned inventor, Edison became a prominent manufacturer and businessman by selling his inventions. This site features 341 motion pictures, 81 sound recordings, photographs, original articles, and other related materials.
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These online exhibits provide context and additional information about this collection.
- Edison Biography
- Edison Motion Pictures: The Edison Manufacturing Co. and Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
- Edison Sound Recordings: The National Phonograph Co. and Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
- Timeline for Inventing Entertainment
These historical era(s) are best represented in the collection although they may not be all-encompassing.
- Development of the Industrial United States, 1876-1915
- Emergence of Modern America, 1890-1930
Related Collections and Exhibits
- Alexander Graham Bell Papers, 1862-1939
- American Treasures of the Library of Congress
- Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey
- Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916
- Inside an American Factory: Films of the Westinghouse Works, 1904
- Last Days of a President: Films of McKinley, 1901
- The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906
- Origins of American Animation
- The Spanish-American War in Pictures, 1898-1901
Recommended additional sources of information.
Specific guidance for searching this collection
To search for films throughout all American Memory collections, use the All Collections Search Engine. Be sure to limit your search results to “Motion Pictures.”
For help with general search strategies, see Finding Items in American Memory.
Please Note: The Alphabetical Title List on the Inventing Entertainment Home Page links to the database and search engine of the defunct American Memory collection, Early Motion Pictures. The contents of Early Motion Pictures are now available in a variety of film-related American Memory collections. To remain within the Inventing Entertainment collection, please browse for files using either the Alphabetical Title List of Edison Motion Pictures or Edison Disc Titles