Philipp Wolff

German supplier

Entering the film business late in 1896, the firm of Philipp Wolff soon became one of the largest suppliers of films in Europe, with offices in Berlin, Paris and London. Since its commencement, the business in England had been under the management of a man named Hessberg, and Mr Hessberg was known to a great number in the trade as 'Mr. Wolff'. He specialised in foreign films, particularly French, but he also sold English subjects and among the producers whose work he handled were Robert Paul, G.A. Smith, John Benett-Stanford, Georges Méliès and Lumière. Many of the most notable films of the day appeared in his lists and he had few, if any, rivals, in the choice of titles on offer. As well as films, he also supplied projectors, cameras and accessories. The particular projector associated with the firm was called the Wolff Vitaphotoscope, which first appeared on the market under this name in 1897. It employed a Maltese cross movement and may well have been of French design. A developing and printing service was also provided and the firm undertook the making of special film to customers' orders. Philipp Wolff occupied premises at 9 & 10 Southampton Street, but after the death of Mr Hessberg at Barcelona in May 1899 from pulmonary tuberculosis, the firm seems to have undergone some reorganisation and in December of that year removed to new premises at No 46 in the Strand. Although it did not survive long after the turn of the century, during its brief existence the firm of Philipp Wolff had become one of the most important dealers in the industry.

John Barnes