John Henry Rigg

British engineer

John Henry Rigg, of 43 Skinner Lane, Leeds, was an electrical engineer and manufacturer of telephones, phonographs and other scientific instruments. He possessed his own recording studios and made phonographs of variety artists appearing at Leeds theatres. He was also manufacturer and co-patentee, with Ernest Othon Kumberg, a French engineer resident in London, of an early projector, the Kinematograph. This was the third English film projector to be publicly exhibited in Britain opening at the Royal Aquarium, Westminster, London, on 6 April 1896. Kumberg was associate with the Anglo-Continental Phonograph Company, who exploited the machine. It had a worm-gear intermittent mechanism - the subject of a patent dispute, settled in Rigg's favour - and, unusually, was driven by an electric motor. It seems to have had some success; it was used in many of the largest halls in the provinces. Rigg converted the projector for use as a camera. Little is known about his film production, but one of his films was taken during a severe frost during the winter of 1896-7 and depicted a group of skaters. Another, Switchback in Operation at Shipley Glen, was made around September 1897. He made other films especially for use in his 'kinetophone', the kinematograph projector synchronised with a loud-speaking phonograph which supplied suitable words or music to the accompanying films. Towards the end of 1896 he opened an agency at 186 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

Stephen Herbert