Jean-Claude SEGUIN

The Charles Urban Trading Company (1903-1906)

C'est le 28 février 1903 que Charles Urban quitte la Warwick Trading Company. À peine quelques semaines plus tard, on trouve dans la presse une annonce de la Charles Urban Trading Company.

urban 1903 04
The Era, Londres, samedi 4 avril 1903, p. 33.

Dès sa création, la Charles Urban Trading Company constitue son catalogue non seulement à partir du fonds de la Warwick Trading Company dans lequel elle puise les films qu'elle souhaite continuer à commercialiser, mais grâce aussi à son exclusivité pour la production de la "Star" Films de Georges Méliès. À cela il faut ajouter les contracts avec The Prestwich Manufacturing Company, les films Blair and Lumiere. Pour les nouveautés propres à la nouvelle société, elles vont être annoncées dans les semaines suivantes dans The Era. Est également annoncée l'ouverture de la Charles Urban Trading Co. (Continental Branch) 

Mr Urban is a man of movement. His ideas are full of progress, and his intentions are most decidedly progressive. Although he has started on his own account at 48, Rupert-street, Shaftesbury-avenue, he has not altogether left the Warwick Trading Co., in which he still has a large interest. However, in his now departure Mr Urban has larger views of enterprise, and is developing a very admirable theory in the educational department of what can be achieved by the right and sensible uses of the Bioscope.
"The scheme is," says Mr. Urban, as he sits in his handsome, new, and well-appointed offices "to bring the cinématograph into practical service at schools and institutions. For instance, in sections we desire to show every movement of every action of every insect-fish, animal, and reptile-in order that the student, the boy at school, shall understand how these marvellous creatures have their being, what they do, and, if I may so put it, why they do it. There are the beasts of prey and the poor wretches they feed upon and try to exterminate. All have their uses, and it is not for us to question the wisdom or the unwisdom of creation. We are of it ourselves, and know not what it means. It is only left to us to wonder and surmise. Another point that I should like to have emphasised. Medical science progresses daily naturally, but when the Rontgen Rays were introduced a newer and a greater development was foreshadowed for the benefit of manking. Now, by the aid of the Cinématograph, every scene to those present in the crowded hall, the theatre of operations, can be exhibited to the young "sawbones," and every detail connected with the cutting -or shall we say surgical necessity?-of a patient, is reproduced so that the dullest person can understand what is being done or what has been done. This new invention of ours is intended to convey that knowledge of the physical form and frame, with its concomitant illnesses, weaknesses, ans strength, for the benefit of mankind at large. You follow me? We are not, in one sense of the word, philanthropists, but we do wish, on our journey to fame and fortune and so on, to do good on our path. You see, speaking from the medical point of view, we can, with the assistance of the Cinématograph and the microscope combined, show how the germs of disease can be traced. And when you can trace a disease you can generally arrest, if you cannot prevent it. But it is all getting on in the right direction."
Mr Urban, being enthusiastic himself, fills us with enthusiasm, and we feel compelled as we listen to enter into all his schemes and projects with quite an unexpected gusto. He was the managing-director of the Warwick Trading Company for over six years. The firm began in a very small office, but, thanks to Mr Urban's energy and enterprise, the concern rose to great things and big officer, and at the present moment the Warwick is one of the most prominent institutions of its kind in London-we might say in all the world. When the wars in Africa, Egypt, the Philippines and elsewhere were causing devastation to countless thousands, the Warwick Trading Company, under the auspices of Mr Urban, were to the front in mote senses than one. They were on the spot, and few hours after the arrival of the mail steamers bearing the negatives they were produced by the Bioscope at the different halls in London.
"You remember our work at the Alhambra and the Palace Theatre ? "The Trip to the Moon,” “Joan of Arc,” "Cinderella,"  “Blue Beard," Well, we have many more in hand," adds Mr. Urban. "We have the exclusive right to the inventions and the patents of George Melies, who is one of the cleverest men in the line that is known. In Paris, I should tell you, we have an office, which was opened in November last, where I have the full control of all the Warwick Trading Company's products. Apart from the Palace and the Alhambra, I am now supplying films to over 800 halls, theatres, and showmen. And these showmen go in largely for the educational side of the question, and get engaged for schools and colleges. We hold the Lee and Turner patent for camera and projector power to give natural colour to animated photography—the best way of all for seeing and understanding things as they are and should be. Of course, these arrangements are held in conjunction with the Warwick Trading Co., although I am striking out a new line for myself as well. May I state that l am the sole licensee in Great Britain and the Colonies for the well-known Demeny patent, which is the basic movement of the Bioscope, and which movement-not the trembling one—is considered the perfection of movement for animated pictures? And we supply all the Government offices, steamship and railway companies with our pictures, evidently to their satisfaction, or they would not come again, would they? Oh, yes, I had forgotten ; we did several of the Coronation pictures, and the King himself was greatly interested.’'
Mr Urban has just had the contract to equip the Ziegler Arctic Expedition with all the photographic apparatus and Cinématographic appliances for developing and exploiting all that may transpire, and he has undertaken to produce and exploit all the films secured on the return of the expedition.
So quick is the process and so ready that the events of the day are practically shown in the evening—a few hours after the actual occurrence, and so become a sort of pictorial supplement to the daily press and newspapers. Mr Urban and his coadjutors have invented also a special type of stage lamps with a newly developed scheme of optical projecting power, which gives a fifty per cent, greater efficiency at two thirds of the current than is now generally used for stage lighting and theatrical effect. That Mr Urban will make improvements in the cinématograph world is a certainty. When a man devotes all his time and attention to one great work he is bound to succeed, and success seems inevitable to Mr Urban. A visit to his well-arranged and business-like office is well worth paying.The Era, Londres, samedi 2 mai 1903, p. 21.

The Charles Urban Trading Company (Continental Branch) (avril-octobre 1903)

En février 1903, Charles Urban quitte la Warwick Trading Company pour fonder la Charles Urban Trading Company, annoncée dans la presse britannique dès le mois d'avril 1903. En ce qui concerne la succursale parisienne, L'Industriel forain permet de suivre la situation. Jusqu'au mois d'avril, on trouve régulièrement des annonces sous le nom de la Warwick concernant des films et une publicité reproduite dans tous les numéros.

1903 04 12 18 annonceL'Industriel forain, nº 714, Paris, 12-18 avril 1903, p. 3.

La presse londonienne a déjà anticipé les changements dès le début du mois d'avril et la nouvelle Charles Urban Trading Co récupère le local du passage 33. 

urban 1903 04
The Era, Londres, samedi 4 avril 1903, p. 33.

Mais, dans le dernier numéro du mois d'avril de L'Industriel forain, on publie une annonce où le nom de la société Warwick est clairement associé - pour la première fois - à Charles Urban. Une revendication tardive qui pourrait bien trahir une situation plus complexe.

1903 04 24 30 filmsL'Industriel forain, nº 716, Paris, 24-30 avril 1903, p. 3.

Ces annonces sont publiées tout au long du mois de mai. Dans le numéro 721 de L'Industriel forain (31 mai-6 juin 1903), un nouvel encart est publié, désormais sous le nom de "C. Urban Trading Cº.

1903 05 31 urban industrielL'Industriel forain, Paris, nº 721, 31 mai au 6 juin 1903, p. 3.

Pendant quelques mois, Charles Urban va continuer à exploiter sa filiale sous son nouveau nom de Charles Urban Trading Company.

urban 1903 04
The Era, Londres, samedi 4 avril 1903, p. 33.

En octobre, il revend le fonds de commerce à son directeur George-H. Rogers :

Suivant acte sous seing privé, en date à Paris, du huit octobre mil neuf cent trois, M. Charles Urban, demeurant à Paris, 33, passage de l'Opéra, a vendu à M. George.H. Rogers, demeurant à Paris, 33, passage de l'Opéra, le fonds de commeerce ayant trait à la fabrication et la vente d'appareils photographiques, cinématographes, etc., qu'il exploite à Paris, 33, passage de l'Opéra, sous le nom ou désignation de Charles Urban Trading Company, avec le droit au bail, pour entrer en jouissance immédiate.
Les oppositions doivent être faites au domicile du soussigné.
G.H. Rogers.

La Loi, Paris, 11 octobre 1903, p. 3.

Ce dernier va donc fonder sa propre société.

1904 urban trading annonce proces
The Era, Londres, samedi 30 janvier 1904, p. 

Société Rogers et Roux (1903-1906)

George-Henry Rogers et Paul-Joseph Roux rachètent la filiale parisienne de la Charles Urban Trading Cº et fondent la société Rogers et Roux. En aoûr 1906, ils revendent leur empreprise à la nouvelle Société Générale des Cinématographes Eclipse :

En conformité de l'art. 6 chap. 2 des statuts de votre Société, il a été expressément convenu que tous les effets des apports des fondateurs, MM. Georges-Henry Rogers et Paul-Joseph Roux remonteraient retroactivement au 1er novembre 1905 et que les bénéfices acquis de 1er novembre au 31 octobre 1906 tant pas la Société Rogers et Roux (ancienne maison Charles Urban Trading Cy de Paris) que par la société de l'Eclipse, profiteraient par moitié aux apporteurs et pour l'autre moitié à la Société.
Il résulterait de cette clause, pour les actionnaires de la Société Générale des Cinématograpres Eclipse un bénéfice de six mois d'exploitation pour deux mois d'existence.
J'ai procédé à l'examen de la Compagnie de la Société Rogers et Roux, ainsi qu'à celui de votre comptabilité.
Les résultats de l'exploitation de l'année 1905-1906 de la Société Rogers et Roux pour dix mois et de la Société générale des Cinématographes Eclipse pour deux mois, se sont élevés bruts à 272.689 fr. 80 et nets à la somme de 162.644 fr. 05.
Conformément à l'art. 6 chap. 2 des statuts ces bénéfices nets appartiennent: moitié, soit 65.231 francs 50 à la Société Rogers et Roux et l'autre moitié, 65.231 fr. 50 à la Société générale des Cinématographes Eclipse.

Les Assemblées générales, 10 janvier 1907, Fasciscule 1, 3e année, p. 103-104

Finalement, la société Eclipse va racheter la maison mère londonienne de la Charles Urban Trading Cº qui devient ainsi sa filiale britannique.