Auguste and Louis Lumière invented a camera that could record, develop, and project film, but they regarded their creation as little more than a curious novelty. Shortly after the public premiere of their film, Louis was said to have remarked: “Le cinéma est une invention sans avenir—Cinema is an invention without a future.” (See also: Explore your favorite movie worlds through beautiful, hand-painted maps.)
This prediction was the Lumières only scientific miscalculation, for this sibling pair created an unprecedented form of art and entertainment that radically influenced popular culture. Their Cinématographe introduced a crucial innovation: By projecting moving images onto a large screen, it created a new, shared experience of cinema. The first "movies" were born.
In 1870, as France reeled from invasion in the Franco-Prussian war, Antoine Lumière moved his family from the hazardous eastern border of the country to the city of Lyon. A portrait painter and award-winning photographer, he opened a small business in photographic plates in his new home.