Mariano Díez Tobar was the true inventor of cinema

The cinematograph or cinema, as we know it best, was an invention of the Lumiere brothers. This is what history tells us, however, it is not entirely true. The first projection, by the Lumiere brothers, was in the Indian Room of the Grand Café in Paris. The people gathered there watched the projection of the first “film” in history. This happened on December 28, 1895. However, the priest Paul Mariano Diez Tobar, had done the same, six years before the Lumiere. His absolute disinterest in his inventions led the French brothers to become famous.

Mariano Díez Tobar

Mariano Diez Tobar had a privileged mind

Mariano Diez Tobar was born in Tardajoz, Burgos, on May 21, 1868. He possessed a superior intelligence and so the priests of the school where he attended took him to another school. It was in the town of Las Quintanillas, although to get there, he had to walk 10 kilometers every day.

Mariano Díez Tobar
Image of Father Mariano Díez Tobar, right, next to Father Manuel Santín. Photo: Family of Don Manuel Santín-National Geographic

At the age of 14, he moved to study at the Seminary of Singüenza, in Guadalajara. There he excelled in the study of physics and mathematics. An advantage that he could not take advantage of because in a religious institution, this was frowned upon.

In 1890 he moved to the college in Murguía, Álava, where his scientific interest increased. He was interested in everything concerning image and sound. He was a born inventor, although his inventions were only developed to demonstrate the laws of physics.

He invented many things, but he was not interested in patenting them

He was responsible for more than 15 creations, but because of his total disinterest he patented only one. This was the curve rotary plotter. In engineering, they used it to draw special perfect curves. Another of his incredible inventions was a wind-up clock that was charged by the human voice.

He also gave his consent so that his inventions, could be used by others. As in the case of the elliograutógrafo, which is a device that transformed the human voice into text with a typewriter. It was used by the Italian company Olivetti.

Cinema was one of his inventions

In 1889, Mariano Diez Tobar gave a dissertation that had the title “the cinematograph”. In that talk, he shared the idea of how to make a moving image. In addition, he detailed the failures of those who had tried. Finally Tobar’s conclusion was to introduce an intermittency between one frame and another, to create a moving image in the mind of the viewer.

Among those attending the conference was Flamereau, who was the representative of the Lumiere brothers. When Flamereau returned to France, he had the machine built to Tobar’s specifications. The rest is what the story tells, with the two brothers as the inventors of the cinematograph.

Disinterest in fame and wealth, caused him to cede his ideas to others. So much so that the Lumiere brothers invited the priest to the first screening in Madrid. Mariano Diez Tobar died unknown to history on July 25, 1926. But now we all know what the reality was.

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