Blacksmith Scene: Wikis


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Blacksmith Scene

Screencap from Blacksmith Scene
Directed by William K.L. Dickson
Starring Charles Kayser
John Ott
Cinematography William Heise
Distributed by Edison Manufacturing Company
Release date(s) May 9, 1893
Running time 34 seconds
Country United States
Language Silent

Blacksmith Scene (also known as Blacksmith Scene #1 and Blacksmithing Scene) is an 1893 American short black-and-white silent film directed by William K.L. Dickson, the Scottish-French inventor credited with the invention of the motion picture camera under the employ of Thomas Edison.

It is historically significant as the first Kinetoscope film shown in public exhibition on May 9, 1893 and is the earliest known example of "actors" performing a role in a film. In 1995, Blacksmith Scene was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It is currently the oldest film included.



The scene is all filmed from a stationary camera. On screen is a large anvil with a blacksmith behind it and one to either side (portrayed by Edison employees). The smith in the middle uses a heated metal rod he has removed from a fire and places it on the anvil. All three begin a rhythmic hammering. After several blows the metal rod is returned to the fire. One smith pulls out a bottle of beer, and they each take a drink. Following this drink they then resume their work.[1]


The film was produced by the Edison Manufacturing Company, which had begun making films in 1890 under the direction of one of the earliest pioneers to film William K.L. Dickson. It was filmed entirely within the Black Maria studio at West Orange, New Jersey, in the USA, which is widely referred to as "America's First Movie Studio". It is believed to have been filmed in April 1893 and was shown publicly (in a Kinetoscope viewer) at the Brooklyn Institute on May 9, 1893.[2]

According to the Internet Movie Database the film was made in a 35 mm format with an aspect ratio of 1.33 : 1. The movie was intended to be displayed through means of a Kinetoscope.[3]


  • Charles Kayser as Blacksmith
  • John Ott as Blacksmith

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category — Recipient(s)
1995 National Film Registry National Film Registry

Current status

A surviving 35 mm print of this film was found at the Henry Ford Museum. This print formed the basis of the negative preserved by the Museum of Modern Art film archive.[2] A copy can also be found at the Edison National Historic Site, under the administration of the National Park Service. As a film produced prior to 1923 its copyright has now expired and it is freely available on the internet to download.


External links

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