Charles Urban et la Warwick Trading Company (1898)

Alors que Charles Urban est en train de constituer sa société The Warwick Trading Company, il envisage de collaborer avec les frères Lumière et pour ce faire, il se rend à Lyon avec Joseph Baucus

The Lumière company of Lyons France could not be induced to sell their cameras, projectors or films. This Lumière product was the best shown. The firm was one of long standing in the photographic world and made a very special negative and positive film. Their photographic quality and selection of subjects were superior to any of the others obtainable. To make progress to warrant the operating of the anticipated scope of the Warwick Company, required more variety of film subjects, improved accessories and machinery for sale offering. Edison would not sell their cameras either, so it simply meant that cameras must be created for our use. I believed that perhaps Messrs. Lumière could be persuaded to our point of view by personal interview. Arriving at Lyons by appointment, we were shown over the extensive plant, at that time larger than the Eastman Kodak works at Rochester, New York.
Mr. Baucus, who conversed in French took Mr. Louis Lumière in hand, while I made our proposal in German to Mr. Auguste Lumière. We tried to convince them that as their machines and films were the best before the public, these exhibits were limited owing to their policy of leasing only. We told them that if they sold their product there would be few Edison and other type machines in use and the four hole gauge films would disappear in a short time. Their single round hole per picture assured greater accuracy of dealing with the film in the perforating machine, the camera, the printing and projecting machines. Much of the jumping, flicker and unsteadiness of the pictures on the screen in the early years was due to greater inaccuracy occurring in the various above mentioned machinery in their manufacture for the four hole Edison gauge. The whole business would have been simplified from the manufacture to the exhibition, had the Lumière brothers decided to act upon our suggestions. They did however agree to adapt their film subjects to the four hole Edison gauge and appointed the Warwick Trading Company Limited distributing agents exclusively in Britain and colonies, while we secured the American agency for Maguire and Baucus of New York. Fuerst Brothers of London, wholesale dealers in chemicals and photographic supplies, retained the leasing rights of the Lumière gauge or one hole picture film. These films were supplied in uniform lengths of sixteen metres per subject (about fifty-three feet) each in its little round tin box and stacked on our shelves like so much canned milk or metal polish.

URB, 1899, p. 48.


MCKERNAN Luke, A Yank in Britain. The Lost Memoirs of Charles Urban, The Projection Box, 1999, 96 p.