Tuesday, September 3, 2013

3D Movies in 1922

3D film technology is always touted as the "latest," and although most have some idea of the earlier era of 3D film in the 1950's with its paper and cellophane glasses and tendency toward horror films (think Vincent Price in House of Wax), few realize that the earliest 3D movies were shown in 1922. One system, known as "Teleview," was invented by Laurens Hammond and installed in the Selwyn Theatre in New York. It used two projectors, one showing  only the frames from a right-eye perspective, one from the left; cinema-goers sat behind "televiewers" which were electronically synchronized to the frames and blocked out the opposite eye automatically. It was a bulky and expensive setup, and never made it as a commercial proposition -- and yet, remarkably, its basic principle is exactly the same as the latest 3D television today. For more detail about Teleview, see Daniel Symmes's archived site, "The Chopper." Although Hammond's system wasn't a commercial success, he went on to invent what's arguably the most durable and distinctive electronic keyboard of all time: the Hammond organ.

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