Major Woodville Latham
(1837–1911) was an ordnance officer of the Confederacy
during the American Civil War
and professor of chemistry
at West Virginia University
. He was significant in the development of early film technology
Woodville Latham was the father of Grey Latham and Otway Latham, owners of a kinetoscope
parlor in New York City
. In December 1894 Latham and his two sons formed the Lambda Company at 35 Frankfort Street, employing Eugène Lauste
, a former Thomas Edison
employee, as well as motion picture pioneer William Kennedy Dickson
. Dickson would not leave Edison's employ until April 1895 and initially lent his expertise to the Lathams in secret.
The Lambda Company developed both a movie camera and prototype
movie projector, the Panoptikon (eventually renamed Eidoloscope
), which was demonstrated for members of the press on April 21, 1895 and opened to the paying public on May 20. These were the first public demonstrations of projected motion pictures in the United States.
In 1898 the Lathams abandoned motion pictures and soon lost their patents. Major Latham outlived his sons; by 1910 both Otway and Grey, who are said to have been hedonistic
in nature, had died.
Latham, aided by the collaboration of Dickson and Lauste, is notable for the invention of the Latham loop
inside movie cameras and projectors, a significant development in the history of cinema
because it allowed motion pictures to be continuously shot and projected for a much longer period than the... Read More