Flatpack Festival
Film for all the senses

Home of the Flipbook

Ian Francis
Wednesday 11th June, 2008 Posted by Ian Francis

Linnett kineograph patent

Being fans of pre-cinema gadgetry and well-stocked with civic pride, we were delighted to discover yesterday that Birmingham is the birthplace of the flipbook. Well, that's stretching the truth slightly; people had been flicking sheets of paper in quick succession to make moving pictures since at least the 18th century, but it wasn't until 1868 that someone thought to patent the idea. That someone was John Barnes Linnett, a lithograph printer based in Smithfield St near the Bull Ring (or BullRing, as they like to call it nowadays). He called this 'device' the Kineograph, and the picture above is from his patent which can be found in Birmingham Central Library. Linnett apparently died young from pneumonia, contracted while taking photographs in Wales, and his wife sold the patent to an American. A classic Birmingham tale...

Big thanks to Mike Simkin for the tipoff. Flipbook fans should check out flipbook.info, and note that there will be some kineographic action at our Flummoxed event on 3rd July.

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