In 1896, the famed inventor Thomas Edison made history again by filming the first kiss in cinema in “The Kiss”. The short 23 seconds clip directed by William Heise was filmed in Edison’s Black Maria studio in New Jersey. This clip featuring the mustachioed John C. Rice and the Canadian actress Mae Irwin was considered scandalous, especially at a time when public kissing was considered a controversial act by the Victorian society of the 19th century.

”The Kiss” (1896) produced by Thomas Edison and directed by William Heise

The May Irwin kissed spanned many imitations, and Edison himself directed “The New Kiss” in 1900 which was described as “nothing new, but an old thing done over again and done well.”

”The New Kiss” (1900) produced and directed by Thomas Edison

This trend culminated in 1905, when the Edison Manufacturing Company produced The Seven Ages. The film shows a series of couples, beginning with toddlers and ending with old people, expressing their love and attachment by kisses and embraces.

”The Seven Ages” (1905) produced by Thomas Edison and directed by Edwin S. Porter

Happy Valentine’s Day!

By Helene Hidalgo