John Arthur Roebuck Rudge
Who was he?
John Arthur Roebuck Rudge was a scientific instrument maker by
profession, later specialising in the creation of magic lanterns. He
developed the Biophantic Lantern
in that it could display seven slides in rapid
succession so producing an effective illusion of movement.
Why was he in Bath?
John Arthur Roebuck Rudge was born in Bath, the son of a wood-turner
and antique dealer. As well as making scientific instruments, he was an
entertainer who put on countless shows, earning the nickname 'Wizard of
the Magic Lantern'.
Rudge met William Friese-Greene
1880, the latter having a photographic shop nearby in Bath, and they
formed a close association. Rudge did most of the technical work whilst
Friese-Greene helped with the photography and put on some public
Friese-Greene was fascinated by the Biophantic
and in 1886 he began work
with Rudge on enhancing it in order to project photographic plates.
They called the device a Biophantascope
plates would never be a practical medium for true moving pictures
and in 1885 he began to experiment with oiled paper and by 1887 was
experimenting with celluloid as a medium for motion picture cameras. [victorian-cinema.net]
Location of plaque at New Bond Street Place:
The text reads
"To perpetuate the name and memory of John Arthur Roebuck Rudge who lived
for many years in the adjoining house and after numerous experiments
conducted in the basement was the first Englishman to produce moving
pictures by means of photographs mounted on a revolving drum.
And also of his friend
William Friese-Greene who
had his studio at No. 9 The Corridor nearby, the inventor of commercial
kinematography being the first man to apply celluloid ribbon for this
Kinematography can thus be attributed to the labours of these two
citizens of Bath where this wonderful invention undoubtedly received
Nearby is a second plaque:
The text reads
Here lived, worked and died Rudge
inventor of the Biophantascope the precursor of the Kinematograph b.
1837 d. 1903"
Location map of New Bond Street Place:
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