Les filiales britanniques de l'American Mutoscope and Biograph Co

Jean-Claude SEGUIN



Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate (1897-1899)

Afin de pouvoir s'implanter en Grande-Bretagne, l'American Mutoscope and Biograph Co va mettre en place une filiale, la Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate, Limited. La société est constituée en juillet 1897. Ses activités sont résumées dans le document suivant :

[...] The Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate, Limited. That registered in July, 1897, with the intention, as stated in its Prospectus, of demonstrating the commercial value of the Biograph and Mutoscope on a sumetent scale to justify the formation of a public Company to fully develop them.
The Biograph and Mutoscope are two inventions for the reproduction of objects in motion. The negatives of views for use in both are produced by the Mutograph, a camera by which from 3,000 to 4,000 separate photographs can be taken per minute. The Biograph is for exhibition at public places of entertainment, where life-size views are thrown on a screen. The Mutoscope is an application of the same principle for the use individuals by means of a small and ingenious instrument. By simply turning a handle all the marvellous effects of the Biograph are produced on a smaller scale. The Mutoscope can be used in private houses or in public halls, clubs, and places of amusement.
There is but little doubt that the great future in photography lies in the direction of depicting scenes with the object and persons in motion. An enormous field is open for the development on this art. Through the organization already in operation throughout  the United Kingdom, which is protected by the patent rights acquired in this purchase, this Company will enjoy the results of the discoveries made and improvements continually being made by the gilled men who have brought to the present state of perfection the art of animated photography as demonstrated in the Blograph and Mutoscope.
The biograph was first exhibited in England on the 20th March. 1897, at the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury-avenue, London, where, consequence of its great popularity, it has run without intermission to the present time, and may still be seen nightly. An instance of what can be done by the Biograph occurred on the 27th of October, when Sir Herbert Kitchener was photographed with the Mutograph as he went down the gangway on to the steamer at Calais, and again on his landing Dover about four o'clock. The films were brought to London and the scenes reproduced the same evening to a crowded auditorium at the Palace Theatre. These scenes were also exhibited to the public on the Mutoscope in the same week. Motionless pictures of the notable events of the world are always eagerly sought after the public in every country. The rapid growth and increasing popularity of the illustrated daily, weekly, and monthly periodicals bear testimony to this fact. The public may now have before them these scenes, with every movement of the face, every gesture ot the actors, faithfully reproduced. The Biograph and the Mutoscope are not therefore novelties which are likely to hit the public taste for the moment and then fall into disuse. As an example of the striking historical value the pictures will possess may be instanced the fact that His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, has recently given repeated sittings in the Vatican and adjoining gardens.
This Company is formed to acquire:—
The leasehold Premises consisting of Offices, Workshops, Laboratory, etc., at 18 and 19, Great Windmill-street, W., at which the business is carried on.
The Plant, Stock-in-Trade, Furniture, and Fittings thereat and elsewhere.
The Patent Rights of the Biograph, Mutoscope, and Mutograph, and all improvements by the patentees therein.
The interest of the Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate (Limited) in various forms of Parlour Kinetoscopes.
The various Licenses and Trade Contracts.
The benefit, as from 31st August last, of the various contracts, subject to any liabilities connected therewith, entered into with ten subsidiary Companies, as set out below, and the Shares in such Companies allotted or to be allotted.
These Companies, as licensees, have the sole right to exhibit the Mutoscope with penny-in-the-slot attachment within a given district. In no case is the machine sold. A license fee of £20 per Mutoscope agreed to paid, together with annual rental of £1 per machine. Each subsidiary Company also allots to the Syndicate as fully paid at least one-third of its share capital. The following Companies have already been formed, and are in active operation, the contract in each case having been made with the Syndicate:
Date of Contract      Title of Company                                   Machines contracted for   Delivery extending to               Share Capital issued
Feb.  1898.              London and District                               2,000                                 June, 1899                              £75,000
Feb.  1898.              Scottish                                                 1,000                                  Sept. 1899                                33,000
April  1898.              Manchester and Salford                           500                                  Sept. 1899                                18,000
April  1898.              Birmingham                                              500                                  Sept. 1899                                18,000
May  1898               Irish                                                           800                                 June  1899                                27,000
Aug.  1898              Isle of Man                                                250                                  June  1899                                11,000
Sept. 1898              North Wales                                              250                                  Aug., 1899                                  7,500
Oct.   1898              South Wales and Monmouthshire            400                                   Aug., 1899                                15,000
Nov.  1898              Blackpool and Southport                          300                                   Aug., 1899                                  9,000
Jan.  1899              South Coast                                            2,000                                  Aug. 1899                                 75,000
                              (comprising Hants, Sussex, Kent)                                                                                                           
                                                                                          ________                                                                          _________
                                                                                              8,000                                                                                £288,500
The contracts, when carried out, will produce a cash profit of £85,000, and shares par value in subsidiary Companies to the extent of £85,000, besides an annual rental of £8,000. To these must be added the profit from the Biograph, which for the fifteen months ending 31st August, 1898, amounted, according to the certified accounts of the syndicate, to £7,663 11s. 2d. or at the rate of £6,100 per annum.

Further subsidiary Companies about to be formed will, when completed, in addition, take at least 6,000 machines, and yield cash profit £65,000, with shares at par value to the amount of £54,000, and rental of £6,000 per annum, or
Cash profit from licenses available for distribution amongst the shareholders or development of the business         £150,000
Shares in subsidiary Companies at par value                                                                                                               139,000
A distribution of the estimated cash profit from license fees would amount to a dividend of 60 per cent, on the share capital of this Company, whilst the Directors consider that the following annual profits may relied on :
Annual rental of 14,000 coin-operated machines                                                                                                          £14,000
Dividend at 10 per cent, payable on £139,000 share capital in subsidiary companies                                                   13,900
Biograph profits per annum certified                                                                                                                                 6,100
or 131/2 per cent. on the present issue of capital.

The following dividends have been declared by the subsidiary Companies above tabulated on the basis of 5s. per share having been paid up for the time being:  Scottish Company, first quarter, 30 per cent, per annum ; second quarter, 40 per cent, per annum ; third quarter, 50 per cent, per annum. Birmingham, first half-year, 50 per cent, per annum. Isle of Man, first quarter-year, 25 per cent, per annum. London, first nine months, 30 per cent, per annum. Ireland, first half-year, 10 per cent, per annum. The earnings of the other Companies justify the Directors in anticipating that they will be able to declare similar dividends.
No provision has been made in the above calculation for management or directors’ fees, as the profits to accrue from the manufacture and sale of subjects, the Studios, the sale of Parlour Mutoscopes and Kinora, and the general business of the Company will, it may safely said, more than cover the same.
Mr. E. B. Koopman, the Managing Director, under whose direction the business has been conducted the present time, has agreed to undertake a similar position with this Company on terms partly dependent on the profits to made. Having regard to the capacity, enterprise, and energy with which the business has been conducted, the Directors are fortunate in having secured a continuance of the present successful management.
Searches have been made as to patents relating to Mutograph and Biograph Messrs. Ivans, Jackson, and Co., of London. These were laid before J. Fletcher Moulton, Esq., Q.C., and Dr. Lewis Edmunds, Q.C., whose favourable opinions are in each case unqualined.
As to the Mutoscope patents, which are the most important, searches have been made by William Fairweather, Esq., Patent Agent, of  Glasgow, and Messrs, Bromhead and Co. Patent Agents, of London, also by Dugald Clerk, Esq., of  London. These have been laid before same counsel, whose opinion thereon is as follows:
"Upon the material submitted to us we are ol opinion that the patent Herman Casler, Nº 14,439 of 1895, for 'devices for showing the changing position of a body or bodies action,' is valid and would upheld it contested in legal proceedings.
12th January 1899
St James's Gazette, Saturday 11 February 1899, p. 16.

 La formation de la nouvelle société, The British Mutoscope and Biograph Company conduit à la dissolution de la Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate : 

In the Matter of the Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate, Limited.
At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the above-named Company, duly convened and held at 18 and 19, Great Windmill-street, London, W. on the 27th day of February, 1899, the following Special Resolution was duly passed ; and at a subsequent Extraordinary General Meeting of the Members of the said Company, also duly convened and held at the same place, on Wednesday, the 15th day of March, 1899, the following resolution was duly confirmed, viz. :— 
"That the Company be wound up voluntarily."
And at such last-mentioned Meeting Elias Bernard Koopman, of 18 and 19, Great Windmill-street, London, W., Frederick Theodore Macdonnell, of 2, New-court, Lincoln's-inn, W.C., Edward Hudson, of 83, Southwark-street, S.E., James Henry Dalziel, of Whitehall-court, S.W., and William Thomas Smedley, of 119, Ashley-gardens, S.W., were appointed Liquidators for the purposes of the winding-up.—Dated this 23rd day of March, 1899. 

The London Gazette, London, March 28, 1899, p. 2110. 

The Scottish Mutoscope Company Limited (février 1898->1898

The Scottish Mutoscope Company Limited est constituée en février 1898 :

The Scottish Mutoscope Company, Limited. This Company is formed with a capital of £33.000, divided into 33,000 shares of £1 each, of which 22,000 are now offered for subscription. The object of this Company is to acquire for Scotland the exclusive control of the penny-in-the-slot mutoscope. The published prospectus says:— The Company acquires its rights from the Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate, Limited, who hold the patents for Great Britain, upon the following terms: —Upon delivery of each mutoscope, with subject complete for use, license fee of to be paid, with an annual rental of £1. The Company will also allot to the licensers one-third of the capital of the Company, viz.. £11,000 in 11.000 shares of £1 each, issued as fully paid up. While it is obvious that Scotland could profitably employ many more than 1000 mutoscopes, yet that number is all that the parent syndicate asks to be taken in order to acquire the exclusive control for the whole of Scotland, and will supply mutoscopes on the following terms : —Payment of the license fee and annual rental against delivery of each penny-inthe-slot mutoscope —1000 mutoscopes, license fee, £20 each, £20,000; working capital, £2000 £22.000. Fully-paid shares to parent syndicate, £11,000 —£33,000. Estimated earnings, 1000 mutoscopes, operating 300 days at the low figure of 2s per day, £30.000; less per cent, for working expenses liberal allowance), £10,000 leaving net income of £20,000, being equal to per cent, on the present total capitalisation.

Dundee Courier, Dundee, Saturday 19 February 1898, p. 3.

scottish mutoscope 1898 prospectus

Dundee Courier, Dundee, samedi 19 février 1898, p. 1.

The Isle of Man Mutoscope Company Ltd (1898->1898)

The Isle of Man Mutoscope Company est crée en août 1898 :

On Wednesday, 20th inst., at Noon.
Mutoscope Company, Ltd,
(Incorporated under the Companies Acts, 1862 to 1890).
CAPITAL - - £11,000.
Divided into 11,000 Shares of £1 each.
Of which 6,500 are now offered for Subscription.
Payable-2s on Application, 2s. on Allotment, and the balance by Calles not exceeding %s. per Share at intervals of not less than two months.
The whole Capital offered for Subscription has been over applied for privately, but the Directors desire to atford local investors an opportunity of receiving a portion of the allotment.
Directors : Thomas Jenkins, E-q., Director Scotttish Mutoscope Co., Ltd., Glasgow.
Ex-Bailie Peter Burt, J.P., Acme Machine Company, Glasgow.
Walter J.Brown, Esq. North View. Douglas Chairman of the Mona Automatic Supply Co.. Limited.
David Clark, Esq., Peveril House, Douglas, director Douglas Steam Ferries, Limited.
Two Members of the Board of the Parent Co. will join after alotment.
Bankers :
The Clydesdale Bank. Ltd., Moore Place Branch, West George-street, Glasgow ; and other Branches.
Solicitous : Wilson k Chalmers, 129, St. Vincent street, Glasgow.
Auditors : J. Berrie Brown & Hunter, Accountants, 196, St. Vincent-street, Glasgow.
Secretaries : Davies, Tait & Co., Chartered Accountants, Glasgow and London.
Offices :
168, St. Vincent-street, Glasgow.
This Company is being formed to acquire from the Vendors the exclusive control in the Isle of Man of the Penny in the Slot Mutoscope, together with a working arrangement for exhibition of the Biograph.
The Mutoscope is an instrument not unlike a stereoscope in appearance, and is the latest and most perfect invention in the art of producing animated photographic pictures. Attempts in this direction have hitherto been made by means of cumbersome and complicated mechanism, with very unsatisfactory results. The Mutoscope is simplicity itself, and yet presents views with a steadiness and distinctness, so that although the eye may behold thousands of successive pictures, they are presented with such evenness as to give the effect of one continuous scene.
The Biograph can be seen nightly at the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W.C., and is earning for itself a reputation as an endless source of interest and amusement to the public.
Equipped with a penny-in-the-slot attachment, the Mutoscope becomes a most seductive and untiring money-earner. A penny is inserted : the spectator from that moment achieves entire of control of the apparatus by means of a handle which regulates the speed of the picture according to the rapidity with which it is turned, until the entire scene contained has passed before the eye. The fascination of the view can only be realized by actual experience
Its fitness for general distribution and its small size admit of its being placed anywhere, and its thorough simplicity of operation gives it an earning capacity far beyond any entertainment device before the public. It appeals to the public in their leisure, and, by its variety of entertainment, attracts all classes, old and young, educated and illiterate.
This Company acquires its rights on the following terms from the Mutoscope & Biograph Syndicate, Limited, proprietors of the Paten's for Great Britain, viz : — On delivery of each Mutoscope with pictures complete for use, a license fee of £20 to be paid, with an annual Royalty of £1 per machine. This Company will allot to the Licensors 4,500 Shares of £1 each, issued as fully paid up.
The Scottish Mutoscope Company on similar lines has just been formed, to operate 1,000 Mutoscopes, with a capital of £33.000. in Shares of £1 each. The Shares were applied for nearly twice over, and, with 5s paid up, are being dealt in at a premium of from 6s to 8s 6d. After two-and-a-half months' trading, this Company paid a dividend at the rate of 30 per cent, per annum on the capital paid up.
The £1 Shares of a kindred Company for the city of Birmingham, recently formed, 5s paid up, are quoted at 5s premium.
The validity of the British Patents for the Mutoscope has been satisfactorily advised on by Mr Fletcher Moulton, Q.C., whose opinion, together with the report of the Patent Agent there on, to the Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate, Limited, can be seen on application at the Office of the Solicitors to the Company.
The Draft Agreement to be entered into between the Mutoscope & Biograph syndicate, Limited, and this Company, together with the Memorandum and Articles of Association, can be inspected at the Offices of the Solicitors.
Applications for Shares should be made on the forms, which may be had from the local Directors; or application may be made direct to the secretaries.
The Mutoscope may be seen in operation at the Douglas Head Hotel.

Isle of Man Times, Saturday 9 July 1898, p. 1.

The South Wales and Monmouthshire Mutoscope Company (1898->1898)

British Mutoscope and Biograph Company (1899-> 1902)