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Robert W. Paul

Robert W. Paul (3 October 1869 – 28 March 1943) was a British electrician, scientific instrument maker and early pioneer of British film. He was born in Highbury, London, and began his technical career learning instrument-making skills at the Elliott Brothers, a firm of London instrument makers founded in 1804, followed by the Bell Telephone Company in Antwerp. In 1891, he established an instrument-making company, Robert W. Paul Instrument Company, initially with a workshop at 44 Hatton Garden, London, later his office. In 1894, he was approached by two Greek businessmen who wanted him to make copies of an Edison Kinetoscope that they had purchased. He at first refused, then found to his amazement that Edison had not patented the invention in Britain. Subsequently, Paul himself would go on to purchase a Kinetoscope, intent on taking it apart and re-creating an English-based version. He manufactured a number of these, one of which was supplied to Georges Méliès. However, the only films available were 'bootleg' copies of those produced for the Edison machines.

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