100 Years of Sound Film

On December 14, 1922, in the former greenhouse of an Auburn, New York backyard, Theodore Case used a special, light sensitive cell to record the word “hello” onto a film strip with perfect clarity. Rushing to his lawyers first to patent the creation, Case sent the above telegram to his business partner Lee de Forest down in New York City to show him what he discovered. This system would be referred to under many names: the Thalofide Cell, the AEO light, the De Forest Phonofilm system, Movietone, all refer to an invention that changed entertainment and the world forever. On December 14, Theodore Case and his fellow scientists in the Case Research Lab discovered the key to making sound film a widespread phenomenon.

Throughout this year, on the second Wednesday of every month, the Cayuga Museum of History & Art will go on a digital storytelling adventure: exploring the larger than life figures, the conflicts, and the history changing moments that defined the brief but impactful work of the Case Lab from 1922-1927, culminating in the creation of the first sound film. If you are new to the Case Research Lab, be sure to visit the page for a brief overview of the Lab’s history and information on how you can tour the space on the Cayuga Museum Campus. If you would like more detail on this story, you may be interested in the book exploring this topic, Breaking the Silence on Film.

Be on the lookout as well for further announcements about events being planned to celebrate as part of the 100th Anniversary of Sound Film.


Jan 01 2022 - Dec 31 2022

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Case Research Lab
203 Genesee Street Auburn, NY 13021 [Corner of Genesee and Washington Streets]
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