Movie Sound

Talkie movies increased fun but also increased the utility of movies by enabling the transmission of news with pictures. Newsreels, that started out as shorts played before movies, evolved into the most effective communication method in history.

Tigerstedt created the first documented movie sound technology, in 1914. However, his technology was not commercialized. Lee de Forest (the same man who created the Audion tube – see FM) went to Europe to work with the German’s Josef Engl, Hans Vogt, and Joseph Massolle of Tri-Ergon.

de Forest tried creating a US sound on film company in cooperation with Tri-Ergon, called De Forest Phonofilm Company, but it never succeeded and eventually went bankrupt. de Forest did manage a sound film festival of short movies on Apr. 15, 1923.

Freeman Owens and Theodore Case also worked with de Forest but found him obnoxious and, eventually, licensed their technology to Fox Film Corporation where it became dominant. Due to the split, IP nobody made substantial revenue from sound films.