Edward H. Amet

Edward H. Amet with his magniscope

Edward Hill Amet (November 10, 1860 – August 16, 1948) was an American inventor and electrical engineer, best known for his contributions to the early motion picture industry. His magniscope, first marketed in 1894, was one of the first devices that projected moving pictures on vertical surfaces. Along with George Kirke Spoor, Amet produced a series of war films.


Edward Hill Amet was born on November 10, 1860 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He trained as an electrical engineer and worked for a time with Thomas Edison. In November 1891, Amet designed the first spring-wound motor for phonographs, first sold in 1894. His Echophone (originally known as the Metaphone, "meta" an anagram of his name) was the first cylinder phonograph with a distinct tone arm. However, the American Graphophone Company sued Amet over the design and its manufacture was suspended in 1896.[1]

In 1894, Amet teamed up with Waukegan, Illinois theater manager George Kirke Spoor to finance a new projector, the magniscope. The magniscope was lightweight (about 70 pounds (32 kg)) and showed pictures with less vibration. The magniscope was a success and was sold to several high-profile theaters. Edison sued Amet, but because Amet decided to contest the charges in court, Edison dropped the case. Amet worked with Spoor to produce films to exemplify the capabilities of the machine. He made a series of war films, shooting footage from staged military camps and using miniatures in a bathtub to simulate naval battles. Amet ceased producing the magniscope in 1900 after the release of the polyscope by the Selig Polyscope Company, selling his share to Spoor.[1]

In 1911, Amet returned to film when he designed the Audo-Moto-Photo, a combination phonograph and film projector. The phonograph recorder was linked directly to the camera, allowing for the first synchronized sound. However, the invention may not have performed reliably.[1] Amet died on August 16, 1948 in Redondo Beach, California.


  1. 1 2 3 Musser, Charles (1990). The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0520085337.
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