Hammock Culture

Love in a Hammock: A Film by Thomas Edison

In addition to patenting many inventions made by other people and coming up with some nice quotes about perseverance, Thomas Edison was a cinematic pioneer. Many of his inventions and innovations paved the way for motion pictures to exist, and he even started one of the first movie studios, Edison Motion Pictures.

Edison Motion Pictures produced hundreds of short movies. Some of them record subjects that modern audiences would consider mundane, like a woman bathing her child. But to audiences unused to movie technology, even the dullest image turned extraordinary when they were blown up on a movie screen.

One of Edison Motion Picture’s films is called Love in a Hammock, which is perhaps the first time a hammock was filmed by a video camera. Made in either 1900 or 1901, the movie’s rudimentary plot involves a man trying to mack it up with a woman who’s sitting in a hammock. (This antiquated behavior obviously never happens today.) Unbeknownst to them, two young rapscallions — obviously with impure intentions — climb up one of the trees that the hammock is slung to.

The official description of the film continues thus: “When the love making reaches a climax the branch on which the boy is lying breaks.” (Sic: The “love making” of the movie’s description is a far cry from the word’s modern connotations. This movie is thoroughly SFW, with nothing more than some less-than-saucy making out. This is 1900, after all.)

“The ending is exceedingly ludicrous, and we predict that this subject will be highly amusing.”

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