George Haydon and Frank Harvey Urry

British manufacturers

Haydon & Urry, a firm of scientific engineers headed by George Haydon and Frank Urry, ran a business producing phonographs and coin-operated machines from 34 Gray's Inn Road, London, moving in late 1896 to 353 Upper Street, Islington. They produced the Autocosmoscope, advertised as 'the most perfect penny-in-slot seeing machine ever produced' showing 'lifelike reproductions of living pictures', though this stereo viewer showed only still images. Soon they were advertising a film projector purportedly of their own design and manufacture, the Eragraph, having applied for a patent on 10 February 1897 (it received provisional protection only). It is possible, however, that the Eragraph owed more than a little to the projector design of German engineer Max Gliewe. Originally advertised as 'the New Kinematograph', legal pressure may have made them change it to the Eragraph, first advertised under that name on 24 April. Four months later Haydon & Urry could boast that their projector was established in twenty principal theatres and music halls around the country. Their chief associate and exhibitor was Randall Williams. The Eragraph was a strong and reliable machine, popular with many travelling showmen. Haydon and Urry also produced a small number of films, employing the brothers Richard and James Monte, including scenes of Henley regatta, Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee procession and two popular comedies, The Bride's First Night and its sequel, Twelve Months After, both released December 1898. In 1900 the company became Automatic Machines Ltd, and continued in various forms, headed by Haydon's son George, producing gaming machines up to the Second World War.

Denis Gifford (revised February 2004)