The Thomas Armat Papers consist of a few letters to Thomas Armat and members of his family and 67 glass negatives with photos of documents and early motion picture devices. The correspondence includes 1 letter from Thomas Edison to Armat crediting Armat with the invention of the motion picture projector and 1 letter from Orville Wright to Armat regarding the Smithsonian Institution. Many of the photos are of legal documents for a case, Armat Motion Picture Company v. Edison Manufacturing Company.
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Thomas Armat was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia on October 26, 1866. A mechanic and inventor, he is best known for teaming with Charles Francis Jenkins to invent the motion picture projector. They showed their "Phantoscope" at the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia September 1895. The co-inventors broke up over patent issues. Subsequently Armat showed the invention to Thomas Edison, who agreed to manufacture it and call it the "Vitascope." Late in his life, Armat received a special Academy Award for his contributions to the film business. Thomas Armat died on September 30, 1948.
Accession data: Gift of Mrs. C. Brooke (Mary T.) Armat, July, 1988.