Edifying Archive Footage: Thomas Edison – Rare Film Recordings

Film of Thomas Edison in 1928

Today it’s the anniversary of Thomas Edison’s death in 1931. Much to our astonishment there are clips of Thomas Edison in the British Pathé film archive, and various fragments of his film work.

A film by Thomas Edison ‘The Forge’ appears, and is one of the oldest items in British Pathé’s entire archive, dating back to 1894, although the exact date is subject to an academic debate in film history circles.

Then there’s this wonderful clip of Thomas Edison himself on his 84th birthday. He sits on a chair outside in the sunshine and talks about talking pictures:

“I have a little trouble now and then, but that’s because I’m getting old. What do I think of the talking pictures? Well I don’t know, I’ve never heard one!” he chuckles.

“What do you think of the Einstein theory?” asks the man next to Edison.

“I don’t think anything of the Einstein theory because I don’t understand it!”

See more Thomas Edison clips and footage related to the great man here:


Author: British Pathé

British Pathé holds the world's finest newsreel collection. We also represent the Reuters historical collection. All 220K films are viewable on our website.

2 thoughts on “Edifying Archive Footage: Thomas Edison – Rare Film Recordings”

  1. Thank you for these clips of Edison.

    Above you show a still from a reel of Edison celebrating his 81st birthday. You describe it in the blurb as him sitting at a table outside his house demonstrating a circuit for a type of new lighting system.

    However he is actually sitting at the table and tapping his two fingers on a telegraphy key, almost certainly in Morse code. If you get someone who knows how to read Morse code (I do not) they will be able to read the message he is tapping and tell you what he is sending.

    The reel is here:


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