Display and Dispute
By mid-December of 1895, Jenkins had his version of the device ready, and demonstrated moving pictures with the projector to a distinguished audience at The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In a letter written to Chairman of the Committee on Science and the Arts H.R. Heyl in August of 1897, Jenkins provides information relative to his "claim of priority of invention" of the Phantoscope. Jenkins asserted that he was advised by the pair's joint attorneys to file a patent as sole inventor of the Phantoscope (a joint application had already been filed). To his surprise, he learned this was not agreeable to Armat. "Interference proceedings" were declared, and carried out for several months. Armat subsequently notified Jenkins that he had sold all of the rights, title, and interest covered by the contract between them to his cousin and business partner, T. Cushing Daniel.
Weeks after the transaction was completed, Daniel approached Jenkins, telling him that the Armats (Thomas and his brothers) would pay cash if Jenkins withdrew the interference patent. Terms were agreed upon, and Jenkins withdrew his opposition to the joint patent application. Jenkins points out that "As the interference proceedings were abandoned, sole invention can only be inferred from a decision of Associate Justice Hagner, Supreme Court D.C., in a bill for an injunction of my use of the Phantoscope."
Upon perfecting his own version of the Phantoscope, Armat approached Raff and Gammon, who were two very prominent entrepreneurs. They were excited by what they saw and approached Thomas Edison with the intention that he further develop the projector. Edison agreed. Armat sold Edison the rights to market the Armat projecting Phantoscope under a new name, the Vitascope.
Many years later, a dispute arose concerning Armat's protest that Jenkins was not the actual inventor of the Phantoscope.
Jenkins Letter to Wahl, notifying that he will be in Philadelphia and will exhibit the Phantoscope for the Committee, 1/27/1897. (1.4M)
Hoadley Letter to Wahl, asking for the favor of Jenkins showing him his apparatus, 2/16/1897. (753K)