Tressograph was a short-lived company set up in 1914 by producer/director Henry Tress, probably to move film production away from his primary sales company the Tress Co for financial reasons.

Besides producing a string of live-action comedies by actor/writer/director Kelly Storrie, Tressograph (its full name may have been the Tressograph Company or Tressograph Film Company) also released a series of WWI propaganda Tressograph Cartoons, 'Lightning Artist' sketches drawn (and possibly animated) by Dudley Buxton.

Buxton was a noted designer of comic postcards. In their advertising Tressograph referred to him as "the eminent lightning cartoonist, Dudley Buxton" which implies that he had appeared on the stage, but I have not found anything to corroborate this. Perhaps this was just a piece of hyperbole conflating his eminence as a cartoonist with the fact that he appeared as a lightning artist in the films.

Buxton made three of these Tressograph Cartoons, as listed below, which were released in November and December 1914. It would seem that these films have not survived, so we don't know how much animation, if any. these films may have contained. It seems likely that Buxton started experimenting with animation at some point, since when Tressograph ceased production he was snapped up by the Cartoon Film Company, to make the John Bull's Animated Sketchbook series.

Tressograph ceased production at the end of 1914, probably for financial reasons. The number of films being released, both British and those imported from abroad, now exceeded demand and ehibitors could pick and choose, renting only the films likely to be most profitable. This in turn required distributors to keep their prices competitively low. While a film may eventually turn a profit as it toured the country, the returns were small and slow to filter through to the production company. It would appear that new companies with insufficient working capital suffered cash-flow problems, and many had to cease production./P>

Henry Tress returned to film production in 1916 with a new company, Tress Films, but had no further involvement with animation.

Filmography (Tressograph Cartoons)

Proverbs and War Topics
(aka War Cartoons Series 1)
Release date:19 November 1914
Producer:Henry Tress
Cartoonist, Animator(?):Dudley Buxton
Colour:Black & White
Length:approx. 511 ft (8.5 mins)
War Cartoons Series 21914
Release date:26 November 1914
Producer:Henry Tress
Cartoonist, Animator(?):Dudley Buxton
Colour:Black & White
Length:approx. 421 ft (7 mins)
War Cartoons Series 31914
Release date:3 December 1914
Producer:Henry Tress
Cartoonist, Animator:Dudley Buxton
Colour:Black & White
Length:approx. 408 ft (6.8 mins)

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Peter Hale
Last updated 2017