An early fascination with photographic equipment led Lon Gaumont deep to the Victorian passion for photography as well as the arrival of moving pictures. He experimented with sound-syncing and color-tinting, grown throughout Europe, and constructed grand palaces for the supply of his movies. Gaumont’s fire, focus and myriad interests assembled among the very successful French film studios that still exists now. He died in France in 1946.
Maybe it is fitting that among the important early leaders of the current film industry was, as his heart, a technology geek. Lon Gaumont was born into a household of small means on May 10, 1864, in Semblancay, in the Loire valley area of France. Photography caught his imagination for a very young age. In the age of 17, Gaumont had laptops stuffed with thoughts about filming and serial projection.
By 1881, Gaumont was in Paris, France, at the workshops of Jules Carpentier, a top producer of precision devices, electric and optical machines.
Gaumont leapt in the opportunity—due in large part to the financial backing of well known astronomer and naturalist Joseph Vallot, financier Alfred Besnier, and, most notably, well-known engineer Gustave Eiffel.
The newest Gaumont Company intended to sell camera gear and film, like the Demeny Bioscope, that has been devised by Georges Demeny and had a “beater mechanics” to transfer the picture. Although the apparatus itself was soon eclipsed by other versions, Gaumont was still in a position to promote the beater mechanism theory after Demeny’s retirement.
The almost-imperceptible but indelible change arrived when Gaumont’s secretary, Alice Guy (after Guy Blach), asked if she could make narrative pictures using the gear to greatly help boost their sales.
Gaumont was venturing past the selling of gear to arcade pictures initially popularized and run from the Lumire brothers, but Alice Guy’s movies were a game-changer. Gaumont made her head of his creation firm, where she made hundreds of short films that contained color-tinting, location shoots and sound-syncing with another Gaumont apparatus, the chronophone.
He replaced Guy Blach as head of creation with director Louis Feuillade, who became famous for his serial thriller movies.
Gaumont was a hard worker and expected the same from his workers: He let them understand if they hadn’t done nicely, and is said to have stood sentry at the doorways of his studio, clocking the entrance of every member of his staff.
Gaumont pictures contained vaudeville, humors and morality stories, along with, frequently, ripoffs of others’ successful movies, however he went to add documentaries; newsreels called the Gaumont Image, which appeared among British newsreels; and educational films.
Gaumont took the opportunity to rapidly expand the retail side of the business, also, offering cinematographic equipment for hobbyists, and finally paving the method for the “house” film and citizen journalism.
Although American filmmaking business started to grow rapidly, the single serious competitor of Gaumont’s to the continent was Path (or the Path brothers), who’d devised the newsreel.
Lon Gaumont retired from films in 1930.
Gaumont was given the Display Prize of France for “having led in largest measure to the advancement of photography.” He perished in Sainte Maxime, in the Provence area of France, on August 9, 1946.
Unexpectedly, despite monetary chaos on the decades, the Gaumont Film Company has endured to the 21st century, standing as the very first and oldest continuously running film company on the planet.