The Charles Proust Chronomegaphone #11-005


The chronomegaphone, an invention of the Gaumont movie house, appeared for the first time in 1908.  It is the most sophisticated speaking movie reproduction apparatus of its time. 

Thanks to the invention of the chronomegaphone, man was for the first time able to record and reproduce films without needing to record voices on one side and images on theother.  Sincronization between all of the components of a movie is rendered perfect thanks to the chronomegaphone.

The chronomegaphone is composed of a projector and a gramophone that work together simultaneously.  With the help of an airpump, the compound produces a sound capable of deserving four thousand spectators.


After a successful career in Santa Rosalía, Lower California, Charles Proust, a french factory constructor learned about the Chronomegaphone invention and decided to go back to France to buy a machine.

Mister Proust returned to Mexico with the invention. At the beginning of 1912, he reproduced the first movie with it: "The Legend of King Gambrinus", a popular medieval song that talks about the importance of beer.

Unfortunately, with the problems derived from the continuation of the Mexican Revolution, Charles Proust was forced to leave the country and his Mexican project.  On September 30 he left for Cuba, where he held some shows.  However, he soon got into trouble with the local government and with a local competitor who reproduced mute movies.  He decided again to flee: he went shortly to Costa Rica and eventually returned to France definitely.

Relevance of this machine

According to Léon Gaumont the company created only fifty machines of the sort, which were sent all over the world: Europe, Canada, the US, Mexico, India, Australia, Japan... Our specimen is not only the most sophisticated edition of the chronomegaphone, but the only one inthe world preserved attached to all of its components and historic materials.

This machine (series number 11-005) is in fact the one acquired by Mister Proust for his Latin American Project.  All of the corresponding historical information is available. The Proust Chronomegaphone is the only one conserved intact in its  four original wooden boxes.  Together with the machine, the family has conserved, furthermore, 24 movies that Mister Proust bought at Gaumont to reproduce in Mexico, Cuba and Costa Rica.

The provenance of the chronomegaphone is undoubtedly proved since the moment in which Mister Proust acquired it in France up to this day. All of the information is conserved by his descendants in their archives. Additionally, the French Cinémathèque has published a book on the subject.


 Additional Information

Charles Proust was originally supposed to travel to New York on the Titanic; however, at the last minute he received a message from his brother, asking him to immediately go to Mexico.  Thanks to this coincidence, Mister Proust was able to change his trip and arrived safely inMexico, without participating in the famous and tragic event.

In order to obtain this apparatus, Mister Proust had to pay the considerable amount of 8330,80 francs or (which would today be the equivalent to more than two million euros).  The invoice exists and is inpossession of his descendants.

ROUILLAC is authorized by the French Government to legally send the chronomegaphone outside French territory.

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