As we settle into the cooler months, we can start to enjoy the comfortable activities of fall and winter – like cozying up with some cider, holiday shopping, or heading to the movies!

I recently went to the theater with my family, and it struck me just how far we’ve come since the early days of the projector. The evolution and innovation of the projector has been a fascinating journey – take a look below to see how viewing films has advanced over the years.


Magic Lantern Shows

Sounds like a children’s game, but the earliest precursor to the projector was a magic lantern. Invented in Europe in the 17th century, magic lanterns used a glass lens and a lantern to project hand painted glass slides onto a white wall or a screen. Groups would gather for magical lantern shows, and one of the most popular events was after the marriage of the Prince of Wales – more than 200,000 viewers attended to see photo portraits of the Royal Family.

Source and photo credit: Collectors Weekly


projector_2Fast-forward to the 1920s and the Vitaphone was introduced, which enabled sound effects to play along with the projected film. The idea of incorporating sound into silent films seemed like an outlandish and expensive venture, however after a successful launch of several Vitaphone features by Warner Brothers, other major studios adopted the new technology.





projector_3Drive-In Movie Theaters

Richard Hollingshead, a sales manager at Whiz Auto Products in Camden, NJ, sought to create a more comfortable movie viewing experience for his mother. After some experimentation, Richard strapped a 1928 Kodak projector to the hood of his car and the first ever drive-in movie theater was created on June 6, 1933. (Sounds like a good fit for our blog on “Very Scary AV Installs”!)



3-D Films

projector_4In 1953 the first 3-D film opened –

The House of Wax, a horror film released by Warner Brothers. The film was shot using two cameras, each to represent the left and right eye of the viewer. As for projection, images from both cameras were projected onto the screen at the same time and viewers wore special stereoscopic glasses to see the film’s 3-D effect.




Technology from the first projector to now has continually advanced, creating more interactive and personal experiences for viewers. As a manufacturer and designer of projector mounts, we here at Peerless-AV have found it quite interesting to take a look at the development of the projector and to see how the technology has changed over the years.


Have you recently been to the movies? Tell us: what was your favorite movie theater experience?

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