It was patented in 1895 by the greatest of the pioneers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, but they were already moving on to their ground-breaking Cinematographe projector and passed the Kinora to Gaumont, who began marketing it c.1900.
This example, offered by Adam Partridge (15% buyer’s premium) in Macclesfield on May 17, was produced in the UK under licence by Kinora between 1907, when the company changed its name, and 1914 when the factory burned down. Kinora was suffering plunging sales in the face of competition from the new cinemas and the factory was never rebuilt.
The 19in (48cm) tall viewer in Partridge’s sale was a top-range model with three lenses, brass crank handle and a carved gilt mahogany case.
It had some very minor condition problems but it was in working order with the reel of cards depicting a horse and cart race moving freely and, against a £2000-3000 estimate, sold at £5800.
The following lot was a smaller, less upmarket viewer. Like the first, it was stamped Kinora London Ltd, but had only two lenses and a 9¼in (23.5cm) tall metal body with transfer-printed decoration.
With some minor chips and pitting and in need of a good clean, it was in working order with a reel of cards depicting a boat race. It sold a shade above estimate at £950.