Richard J. Appleton

British manufacturer, filmmaker

R.J. Appleton & Co. was a long-standing Yorkshire firm of photographic and magic lantern outfitters operating from 58 Manningham Lane, Bradford. They had been in business for some twenty years before the new field of cinematograph entertainment opened up. Appleton devised a tri-partite apparatus which he called the Cieroscope, combining the functions of camera, printer and projector, and first put into use in November 1896. It sold at fifteen guineas, plus an extra two guineas with Cecil Wray's special cinematograph lens. Appleton also produced his own films, which brought praise from Cecil Hepworth, writing in Amateur Photographer. Certainly one personal success for Appleton was his filming of Queen Victoria's Jubilee procession on 22 June 1897, with the help of his local newspaper, the Bradford Argus. His ambitious scheme was to film the procession in London, and show the results on the same evening in Bradford. A railway van was fitted out as a dark room, and the project - a remarkable achievement for the date - was successfully carried out. 250,000 spectators are reported to have seen the films projected on a giant screen beside the Argus building through the week.

Richard Brown / Denis Gifford