Record of a Sneeze – An Edison Kinetoscopic Film


The video you’re about to watch is the first movie to be copyrighted in the United States by The Edison Manufacturing Company – a company organized in 1889 by inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Edison.

Record Of A Sneeze, was filmed shortly after New Year’s Eve of 1894 between Jan. 2nd and 7th and released on the 9th. Shot by William K.L. Dickson with Thomas Edison’s assistant, Fred Ott as the star, the 5 seconds of silent film shows Mr. Ott taking a pinch of snuff to help induce the sneeze.

The Kinetiscope itself, was a device that allowed one person to view the film at one time; much like the once popular toy View-Master, which allowed just one child to view the slides while another may have sat waiting patiently for a turn. To view the motion picture, one had to peer through a peephole at the top of the Kinetiscope.

The company also produced batteries (for telegraph, phonoplex, and telephone systems), dental and medical instruments, machinery and appliances such as electrical fans. When film-making seemed to be a lucrative business, Edison Manufacturing created Edison Studios which went on to make approximately 1,200 films with only 54 being full-length.


San Francisco Kinetoscope Parlor ca. 1894-95

The first production facility was Black Maria studios located in West Orange, New Jersey which was built in the winter of 1892–93. A second facility built with an enclosed, glass rooftop was located at 41 East 21st Street in Manhattan’s entertainment district. It opened in 1901. In 1907, Edison’s newer facilities were built on Decatur Avenue and Oliver Place in the Bronx. The studios were closed in 1918.

The United States Library of Congress selected Record Of A Sneeze for preservation within the National Film Registry declaring it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


View-Master by Mattel

– altered by Hystoria



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