Les origines: la Bender & Co (août 1896-juin 1897)

Thomas James Harrison et son fils Gilbert Howard Harrison déposent (1er août 1896) un brevet (GB 17.049) pour un appareil cinématographique qui utilise de la pellicule de 70mm. Il est exploité sous le nom  "Grand Kinematograph" par la "Bender & Co", entreprise de Victor Bender, installée à Croydon (126, George Street) depuis le mois d'avril 1895, et que vient de rejoindre Adolph Langfier. La production est limitée à quelques films.

The Velograph Syndicate Company (juin 1897-1899)

Une restructuration s'opère en juin 1897 qui voit Adolph Langfier devenir l'un des responsables de la nouvelle "Bender & Langfier": 

We are informed that in future Messrs. Bender & Co., of Croydon, will trade under the style of Bender & Langfier. The firm's new address is 242, London-road, Croyon.

The British Journal of Photography, 9 avril 1897, p. 236.

Le nouveau siège de la société est désormais situé au nº 242, London Road. La nouvelle entreprise  va prendre le nom de "The Velograph Syndicate Company":

To exploit the new machine, the Velograph Syndicate Limited was formed in June, with a capital of £5,000 in £1 shares to take over the cinematographe section of the business of Bender & Co.

BARNES, 1983, 45.

1897 06 velograph
The Photographic Dealer, juin 1897, p. XXV.

On compte parmi les collaborateurs de la Velograph Albany WardArthur Richards et Charles Howard.

Les projections vont avoir lieu (1897) dès lors dans différentes villes anglaises : DunstableLeamingtonNuneatonRugbyBirmingham,  Gloucester,  Northampton... Dans cette dernière ville , l'annonce est accompagnée d'une note qui indique :

SPECIAL NOTE.-The Management beg to announce that they are no way connected with any other Entertainement using the title of the Velograph.

Northampton Mercury, Northampton, vendredi 5 novembre 1897, p. 4.


"The VELOGRAPH.”—This is an instrument which is really improved form of cinematograph, and is being taken round the country for the purpose of exhibiting what is claimed to be the finest selection of animated photographs yet taken. The “velograph” was in Wycombe the closing days of last week, and demonstrations were given in the Central Hall to crowded audiences, who were delighted with the pictures, which were certainly the best we have yet seen. The subjects were various, including portions of the Jubilee procession in London, the Buckingham Palace garden party, episodes in the Graeco-Turkish War, seascapes, scenes on the railway, and as the views were accompanied with appropriate sounds, the effect produced was most realistic. Although forming an excellent entertainment in themselves, the pictures were not all. The programme also included several humorous and clever dramatic sketches Mr. Jos. Blascheck (the Australian monologue entertainer), and splendidly-rendered solos by Miss Edith Vivian (the favourite soprano from the Albert Hall, London), which nicely filled up an interval. Mr. Blascheck also courteously discharged the managerial duties, and Mr. Charles Howard made a skilled operator and lanternist.

South Bucks Standard, vendredi 26 novembre 1897, p. 5.

Il n'est pas impossible que plusieurs "velograph" aient circulé dès 1897. On retrouve ainsi plusieurs "managers" qui le présente: Mr. Dudley Harcourt (Bedford, novembre),  Mr. Coates (Eastbourne, novembre).. William David Slade (Londres/Portobello, janvier 1898), Edgar Manaton (Aberystwyth, janvier)...

Ses activités se prolongent jusqu'en 1899:

The VELOGRAPH SYNDICATE, Limited, are relinquishing that portion that portion of their Business pertaining to Animated Photographs, and are prepared to DISPOSE OF the existing STOCK, consisting of Complete Outfits, Cameras for taking Films, Projecting Machines, Films, &c.
Apply at the
Offices of the Syndicate,
242, London-road,

The Era, Londres, samedi 7 janvier 1899, p. 26.


londres 1898 velograph
The Stage, Londres, 20 janvier 1898, p. 21.


BARNES John, The Beginnings of The Cinema in England 1894-1901, volume 2 1897, Exeter, University of Exeter Press, 1983 [1996], 272 p.