Autochromes Lumière

Historical Context


1840
July Monarchy

1848-1851
Second French Republic

1852 - 1870
Second French Empire

1871
Franco-Prussian War
Paris Commune

1875 - 1940
1875, January 30, Third French Republic
1886-1889 Boulangist Crisis
1894-1906 Dreyfus Affair

1905
Seperation of Chruch and State

1914 - 1918
First World War

1929 - 1934
The Great Depression

1936
Popular Front

1939 - 1945
Second World War

1945 - 1958
Forth French Republic

1958
Fifth French Republic

1970
 November 9. Death of General Charles de Gaulle
A Family of Pioneers


1840
 March 13. Birth of Claude-Antoine Lumière in Ormoy (Haute-Saône)

1841
 July 29. Birth of Jeanne-Joséphine Costille in Paris 5th 

1847
The Lumière family, composed of Nicolas Lumière, his wife Louise Huguenin and their son Claude-Antoine, leaves Haute-Saône for Paris.

1854
Death of Antoine Lumière's parents in Paris-Belleville, following a cholera epidemic

April 25, Louise Lumière, maiden name Huguenin, in Paris 9th

June 4, Nicolas Lumière in the hospital Saint-Louis, Paris 5th

1861
October 24. Antoine Lumière, ornamental painter, marries Joséphine Costille in Paris. The marriage is conducted in the Saint-Etienne-du-Mont church.

1862
 Antoine Lumière takes up a career in photography in Besançon (Doubs). He is initiated into the freemasonry at the Sincérité, Parfaite Union et Constante Amitié réunies (S.P.U.C.A.R.) lodge.

October 19. Birth of Auguste Lumière in Besançon (Doubs)

1864
 October 5. Birth of Louis Lumière in Besançon (Doubs)

1866
 August 17. Antoine Lumière is raised to the rank of Master in the S.P.U.C.A.R. Masonic lodge.

1871
 The Lumière family (Antoine Lumière, wife Joséphine Costille and their three children Auguste, Louis and Jeanne) leaves Besançon for Lyon, fleeing the Prussian army like many families living in France-Comté region. Antoine Lumière develops his career as a portrait photographer, between Rhône and Saône until 1885

1872
 Antoine Lumière receives his first awards for his photographic work at the universal expositions: 1872, Médaille d'Or in Lyon; 1873, Médaille de Progrès in Vienna (Austria); 1874, Médaille hors ligne of the universal photographic competition in Paris

1876
24 mai. Antoine Lumière est membre actif de la loge Etoile et Compas de Lyon
 May 24. Antoine Lumière becomes an active member in the Etoile et Compas lodge of Lyon

1878-1880
 Auguste in 1878, then Louis in 1880, begin their studies at the École de La Martinière. The school provides a basis in technical and scientific training, based on innovative pedagogic methods.

1881
 Louis Lumière improves on the formula of the dry silver gelatino-bromide plates developed by the Belgian van Monckhoven

January 26. Antoine Lumière is raised to the rank of Venerable of the Etoile et Compas lodge of Lyon

1882
 June 3. Antoine Lumière rents an old factory in Monplaisir to set up a small-scale manufacture of dry plates.

1884
January 5. Foundation of Antoine Lumière & Sons for the industrial manufacture and commercialisation of photographic plates and papers of silver gelatino-bromide under the brand name Etiquette Bleue
The Lumière's finance their activities with private contracts.

1885
 December 1. Antoine Lumière sells his photographic studio in rue de la Barre to Marius Jullien for a sum of 30,000 francs. Jullien later transfers the studio to 2, rue du Plat.

1890
Antoine Lumière & Sons pursue a policy of acquiring land in Monplaisir-Lyon, Evian-Les-Bains (Haute-Savoie), La Ciotat (Bouches-du-Rhône).
Evian, Antoine Lumière transforms a villa into the residence that will be the vacation home of the family. The Villa-Lumière has housed the city hall of Evian-les-Bains since 1927.
La Ciotat, property called Clos des plages is built up with vineyards.

1892
May 2. Antoine Lumière & Sons becomes Société Anonyme de Plaques et Papiers Photographiques A. Lumière et ses fils.

1894
 Louis Lumière invents the Cinématograph during a bought of insomnia. The principle behind the film driver is inspired by a sewing machine, realising a synthesis of the work by his contemporaries.

1895
 December 28. First public showing of the Cinématographe Lumière, in the salon Indien du Grand Café located in boulevard des Capucines in Paris. Georges Méliès is present in the audience. Ten films are shown, including the Sortie des Usines Lumières in Lyon-Monplaisir. Some months later, the success is known around the world. The company commits to the production and projection of films throughout the world.

1896
 Shares in the company Société Anonyme des Plaques et Papiers Photographiques A.Lumière et ses fils are released on the Paris stock exchange. The production of Lumière film reaches its height during the years 1897-1899

1899
 February 21. Foundation of the Amicale Lumière, an association initiated by the personnel of the Lumière factories, comprised solely of male employees.

1899-1902
Construction of the château Lumière in Monplaisir by Lyon architects Alex & Boucher between 1899 and 1902. Following the example of many lyonnais industrialists, Antoine Lumière constructs an impressive mansion, both comfortable and near to the factory. Present-day headquarters of the Institut Lumière.
Construction of three villas in Cap d'Ail: Pergola for Antoine, Perle Blanche for Auguste, Hélios for Louis.

1903
December 17. Patent request for a colour photographic procedure. This first patent puts forth the principle of the Autochrome plate.

1906
 End of the cinematographic operations of the Lumière family. Other companies, such as those created by Léon Gaumont or Charles Pathé, already strongly represented in the area of film production, would create the French cinematographic industry.

1907
 June. Initial commercialisation of the Autochrome plates, the first industrialised procedure from colour photography. For the first time ever, genuine reproduction of colours is brought to the hands of amateur photographers.

1908
  Auguste and Louis Lumière are awarded the Péligot medal by the Société française de photographie (SFP) for the invention of the Autochrome plate 

1911
 March 10. Creation of the Union Photographique Industrielle, Etablissements Lumière et Jougla réunis (U.P.I.)

April 5. Death of Antoine Lumière in Paris 9th

1912
 The Monplaisir factory produces 6000 Autochrome plates daily

1915
 December 20. Death of Joséphine Costille, widow of Antoine Lumière in Lyon 3rd

1919
 September 15. Henri Lumière, son of Auguste Lumière, joins the U.P.I.

1921
 January 1. Henri Lumière is elected member of the Board of Directors of the U.P.I.

1925
Auguste and Louis Lumière definitively retire from the Board of Directors
Henri Lumière is nominated General Director of the U.P.I.
Albert Trarieux, son-in-law of Louis Lumière, joins the U.P.I.
1928
 L'Union Photographique Industrielle (U.P.I.) takes the name Société Lumière

1933-1934
 End of the production of Autochrome plates by the Lumière factories of Monplaisir

1940
 Jean Lefrancq, son-in-law of Louis Lumière, joins the Société Lumière, by the side of Albert Trarieux, both of whom are members of the Board of Directors.

October 25. Henri Lumière is elected president of the Board of Directors of the Société Lumière

1948
 June 6. Death of Louis Lumière in Bandol (Var)

1954
 Albert Trarieux retires from the vice-presidency of the Board of Directors.

April 10. Death of Auguste Lumière in Lyon 8th

1955
 The Société Lumière gives up the manufacture of trichromatic plates. From now on they sell colour film under the name Telcolor, manufactured by the Swiss firm Telko 

1963
 CIBA becomes major shareholder with a 60% majority of the Société Lumière

1964
 June 11. Henri Lumière takes his retirement from the presidency of the Board of Directors.

1967
 Beginning of the construction of factory of Saint-Priest (Rhône)

1969
 June 1. Jean Lefrancq retires from the direction of the Société Lumière.

1970
 The factory of Saint-Priest releases a new method of film emulsification allowing for greater results.

1976
 Closure of the factory of Lyon-Monplaisir

1982
 The Société Lumière is taken over by Ilford-France
The Epic of Colour Photography

1848
Edmond Becquerel, France
Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel (1820-1891)
Direct colour photography
Registering the first solar spectrum on a bronze plate. The image, as it is unfixed, disappears progressively under exposure to light

1858
 Claude-Félix-Abel Niepce de Saint-Voctor (1805-1870), cousin of Nicéphore Niépce, father of glass-support photography, develops a heliochrome.

1861
James Clerk Maxwell, Great Britain
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), Scottish physician, obtains the first colour photograph by trichromatic additive synthesis. With the help of three "magic lanterns" fitted with red, green and blue filters, he catches the image of a Scottish tartan. He reconstructs all the colours of the tartan by superimposing the three projected images.

1869
Charles Cros and Louis Ducos-du-Hauron, France
Indirect colour photography by subtractive synthesis, trichromatic pigmentation
Charles Cros and Louis Ducos-du-Hauron simultaneously and without previous consultation develop a global solution of the problem of colour photography. On May 7, they present the principle of indirect colour photography with subtractive trichromatic pigmentation to the Société française de photographie.

Louis-Arthur-Montalembert Ducos-du-Hauron (1837-1920)
Produces the first trichromatic proofs on paper by the superposition of three coloured gelatine layers.

Charles-Emile-Hortensius Cros (1842-1888)

1873
Hermann Vogel, sensitisation of the emulsions, Germany
Hermann Wilhelm Vogel (1834-1898)
Sensitising the plates to green

1882
Charles Cros, France
Charles Cros (1842-1888)
Indirect colour photography by Hydrotype subtractive synthesis
Develops trichromatic colour proofs on paper by physical transfer of colour

1891
Gabriel Lippmann, France
Direct colour photography by interferential method
Gabriel Lippmann (1845-1921), physician, obtains the first stable colour photograph in demonstrating the nature of light waves (interferential radiation) with the help of reflective mercury. His presentation to the Paris Académie des Sciences would win him the Nobel Prize. Too complex, his procedure would never be adopted on a large scale.

1891-1895
Louis and Auguste Lumière, France
Direct photography of colours, interferential process
Louis Lumière (1864-1948) and Auguste Lumière (1862-1954) fix the spectrum of solar light and improve Lippmann's interferential method, without industrialising the procedure.

1892
J.W. MacDonough Plates, United States of America
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, random network
James-William MacDonough

1894-1897
John Joly Plates, Ireland
Indirect photography of colours by additive synthesis, lined network
John Joly (1857-1933) geologist, develops the first procedure using a network of coloured lines on a glass plate.

1895-1901
Lumière Trichromatics, France
Indirect colour photography by subtractive synthesis, Lumière trichromatics
The Lumière brothers develop a subtractive technique that they exploit to reproduce positive images in relief on glass

1896
J.W. MacDonough, United States
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, lined network

1904
Louis Lumière, France
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, Lumière Company
Louis Lumière presents a "procedure for colour photography" to the Académie des Sciences. This procedure sets out the principle of the Autochrome plate, from a base of potato starch died with the three basic colours violet, green and orange.

1907
Lumière AUTOCHROME plates, France
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, Lumière Company
The Lumière brothers realise the industrial manufacture of their procedure and launch the commercialisation of the Autochrome plate

1908
THAMES plate, Great Britain
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, lined network, Thames Color Company, Plate C.
One of Autochrome plate's principle competitors

1909
OMNICOLORE plate, France
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, lined network, Jougla Company
One of the Autochrome plate's principle competitors
Ducos-du-Hauron succeeds in producing his plates with the Jougla Company
This procedure would be bought in 1911 by the Lumière Company, who produced the competing Autochrome plate

DIOTICHROME plate, France
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, lined network, Société des plaques et produits Dufay
One of the Autochrome plate's principle competitors
A trichromatic procedure is manufactured from the "Louis Dufay" plate and from the "Guilleminot" panchromatic emulsion

1912
CHRONOCHROME, France
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis
Léon Gaumont (1864-1946) deposits a patent for colour cinema. The camera and the projector are equipped with three lenses corresponding to the red, green and blue selections.

1913
PAGET COLOR plate, Great Britain
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, lined network, Paget Dry Plate Company
One of the Autochrome plate's principle competitors

1916
AGFACOLOR plate, Germany
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, random network, Agfa Company
One of the Autochrome plate's principle competitors with a foundation of dyed granules

1924
AGFA plate, Germany

1929
FINLAY plate, Great Britain
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, lined network, Finlay Photographic Process Ltd.
One of the Autochrome plate's principle competitors
This invertible procedure would not have much of a future

1931
FILMCOLOR film, France
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, Lumière Company
The glass-supported Autochrome plate is developed into a flat film on a flexible support

1933
LUMICOLOR spool film, France
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, Société Lumière
The Filmcolor is developed into a spool with a more sensitive emulsion. The potato starch is replaced by a beer yeast of a finer grain. The employment of a yellow filter is no longer necessary.

1934
TECHNICOLOR spool film, United States
Indirect colour photography by subtractive synthesis
This procedure represents a significant development in the American production of colour film.

1935
DUFAYCOLOR film, Great Britain
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, lined network, Dufay-Chromex and Ilford
One of the Autochrome plate's principle competitors
On a reversible support with coloured network, the Dufaycolor offers high quality results. It would later be replaced by the cheaper Kodachrome.

KODACHROME film, United States / AGFACOLOR, Germany
Indirect colour photography by subtractive synthesis
Commercialisation of the first chromogentic colour films. The colours yellow, magenta and cyan are synthesised during development.

1943-1946
 EKTACHROME film, United States

1947
THOMASONCOLOR, France
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis
The film-maker Jacques Tati (1907-1982) films his Jour de fête with the aide of an additive lens procedure.

1952
ALTICOLOR spool film, France
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis, Lumière Company
Last development in the spool-form Autochrome processes.

1963
 CIBACHROME/ILFOCHROME film

POLACOLOR film, United States
Indirect colour photography by subtractive synthesis
Polaroid introduces a colour photographic procedure with instantaneous development, adapting their technique developed for black and white film in 1947. 

1967
Colour television, France
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis
Introduction of colour television in France. 1500 colour receivers are in service. Broadcasting in colour had been in use in the United States since 1945.

1975
First digital camera from Kodak, United States
Steve Sasson, Kodak engineer, produces a 4kg camera that registers a photo in 23 seconds on a magnetic tape (cassette), which can be viewed afterwards on a television set.

1976
FUJICOLOR 300 film, Japan
Indirect colour photography by subtractive synthesis

1982
KODAK VR1000 film, United States
Indirect colour photography by subtractive synthesis

1983
FUJICOLOR 1600 film, Japan
Indirect colour photography by subtractive synthesis

POLACHROME spool film, United States
Indirect colour photography by additive synthesis
Polaroid commercialises a 35mm film with instantaneous development, based on a concept similar to that of the Autochrome (trichromatic network associated with a black and white emulsion).

1990
Digital camera called "Canon Ion RC 251," Canon, diskette storage, Japan

1991
Digital camera NIKON F3 KODAK, United States
1991, CNAM

2003
The developments of the digital techniques encounter a setback due to the problems associated with colour photography. The issues are solved through a the union of the additive and subtractive syntheses, whose applications had up until then been relatively dissociated: these new images were visualised additively on screens before being reconstituted subtractively on printed supports.