LUMIÈRE, LOUIS & AUGUSTE. The First Film Makers. Two AUTOGRAPH LETTERS SIGNED. The Lumiere brothers are credited with making the first movie shown in December 1895 and titled, "La Sortie des ouvriers de l’usine Lumière" or “Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory.” As manufacturers of photographic equipment, and interested in animating images, they developed a camera that could both animate and project images. Their camera, called the Cinématographe, gave us the name for moving pictures as well as the theaters that show them, the cinema. They apparently incorrectly judged cinema to have little future value and focused their efforts on developing a color process for photographs. In the year between these letters, 1907, the brothers launched Autochrome Lumière, their color photographic process.
The recipient of the Lumiere brothers' letters was Angelo Mariani (1838-1914), a French chemist. Between 1863 and 1868, Mariani marketed a coca wine and a medicine called Vin Tonique Mariani. His advertisements claimed his products would restore health, strength, energy and vitality. The popular concoctions were awarded a Vatican gold medal and endorsed by notables of the time including Emile Zola and President Ulysses S. Grant.
The Letters: Louis, 4pp on one folded 8vo sheet, "Cours Gambetta," Aug. 7, 1906. Auguste Lumiere, 12mo card stock, n.p., Nov. 18, 1908. Louis Lumiere writes a friendly personal four page letter to Mariani on printed address stationery in the summer of 1906. "I do hope you had a good trip back and that you do not suffer too much the Parisian heat. My little family stayed at Evian, the journey... is one of the most favorable for Suzanne's health, and here I am alone at home as my brother is also gone...The bustle of the factory is there, fortunately, to make me find the time shorter...." Signed, "L. Lumiere." Two years later in 1908, Auguste Lumiere thanks Mariani, " a thousand times... for your kind congratulations...." He signs, "A. Lumiere." The pair of letters is in fine condition.