Friday, April 6, 2018

Segundo de Chomón and the pushbutton age

Regular readers have noticed we've been spending a lot time on the history of technology, particularly the explosive changes around the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the things I find most fascinating about the period is the number of concepts that are now so familiar as to be a part of our intuitive view of the world which didn't exist until the time in question.
The idea of remote control, virtually instantaneous nonmechanical action at any terrestrial distance. You touch a button, you throw switch, and lights go on, doors open, motors start. This went from being impossible to completely mundane with remarkable speed.

The pushbutton age was still fairly new when Segundo de Chomón made the groundbreaking film electric hotel. The though overshadowed by Georges Méliès, de Chomón was, for my money, probably the better filmmaker and his work with stop motion animation would prove more fertile than any of the trick effects his contemporary is remembered for.

Another piece of new technology.

No stop action, just a personal favorite.

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