Demetrius Anastas ('George') Georgiades and George (Theo?) Tragides

Greek exhibitors

Typical of the enterprising individuals who siezed on Thomas Edison's latest wonder, the Kinetoscope, is the story of Georgiades and Tragides; like fast-disappearing quarks influencing the chain reaction in a laboratory and then vanishing forever, they appear briefly in 1894-5, set tumultuous events in motion, and are immediately lost to history. In New York City in the Spring of 1894, George Georgiades (Demetrius Anastas Georgiades) and his partner George Tragides (spelled Tragidis in some contemporary documents and in the London Directory for 1895, but which appears variously in the literature as Tragedis Papastakyotenipoulos or George Tragedis, Trajedis or Tragedes) purchased six Kinetoscopes from the Edison agents, the Holland Brothers. In late July 1894, Georgiades demonstrated a Kinetoscope for Henri Flamans, the editor of Le Magasin pittoresque, its first appearance in Europe. Forming the American Kinetoscope Company with offices at 95 Queen Street, London, and 20 Boulevard Montmartre, Paris, Georgiades and Tragides opened Kinetoscopes at several locations in London, amongst them The Strand and Old Broad Street.

Seeking to expand their business they were introduced to the 25-year-old instrument maker Robert Paul by his friend and later collaborator Henry Short, and asked Paul to make copies of the machine. Finding that Edison had not taken out a British patent on the machine, Paul began making copies of the Kinetoscope both for Georgiades and Tragides and on his own account. By November 1894, the two Greeks had evidently mixed their genuine machines with Paul's copies, since Edison's legitimate agents Maguire and Baucus cabled Edison seeking to use his name in a suit against parties using 'one genuine with four spurious machines'. (In Paris the previous April, Edison's agents the Werner Brothers had also possibly run into the wildcat Georgiades operation, advertising that 'our firm is the only one in France which sells the authentic apparatus made by M. Edison'). The two Greeks later suggested that Paul make some new films for their Kinetoscope exhibitions, and his successful experiments led to the making of the first British films with Birt Acres. On 11 February 1895 it was reported that the partnership between George Georgiades and Theo Tragidis, in business at 62 Broad Street as the American Kinetoscope Company had been dissolved by mutual consent. On 6 March 1895, George Georgiades opened a Kinetoscope exhibition at the Tabacaria Neves in Lisbon, the machine's first showing in Portugal and his final known appearance in the entertainment world.

Deac Rossell (revised 2011)