All Classic Video - The Mechanical Butcher (1895) - Classic Lumière Film
The Mechanical Butcher (1895) - Classic Lumière Film
The Mechanical Butcher (La Charcuterie mécanique) is an 1895 "humorous subject" created by the Lumière Brothers. Phil Hardy's The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction classes it as the first science fiction film. The film purports to show a machine that automatically turns a live pig into various pork products; however, at least in surviving prints of the film, it looks like little more is going on than a butcher hawking his wares from a stand that just happens to have "La Charcuterie mécanique" painted on it.
The theme was widely repeated in films such as Making Sausages (aka The End of All Things) (1897) by George Albert Smith, which depicted cats and dogs being converted into sausage (along with a duck and a boot) by a machine. Smith recorded the first sale to Owen Brooks on December 22, 1897. American Mutoscope and Biograph made The Sausage Machine the same year, which was a parody of the conveyor belt system. Edison Studios followed with Fun in a Butcher Shop (1901) and Dog Factory (1904), both of which showed pet dogs being turned into sausages. The former showed simply a primitive crank, while the latter film depicted an electric machine with a reversible process.