DAILY FEATURE: By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (February 1, 2021) – In Issue 2021-20 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we find the first motion picture studio in . . . New Jersey?

Edison’s Balck Maria Motion Picture Studio, Widely believed to be the 1st Movie Studio ever built – (Stock photos)

Hollywood of New Jersey

Thomas Edison, born and raised in Milan, Ohio, is thought to be America’s greatest inventor.

Among the many firsts credited to this self-educated and self-made man is the first motion picture studio. The Black Maria Studio was completed on this day in 1893.  It was built on the grounds of Edison’s West Orange, New Jersey Labs for the outrageous sum of $638 (about $16,000 today).

Edison wasn’t perfect.  While he is credited with the invention of  the practical incandescent light bulb, among many other things, he was a strong early supporter of Direct Current (DC) power distribution.  If he would have prevailed, you still might not have lights in your house.  DC is quite useful, but it cannot be readily distributed over even modest distances.  Early DC power plants served only single buildings or at most sites within a half mile radius.   Alternating Current (AC) won the day in the late 1800s, curtesy of Tesla and Westinghouse.  Black Maria was powered by AC.

Here is Bradford’s map of the Garden State from 1837.

Map of the Garden State from 1837 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.