Cat videos rule the Internet, but the addictive phenomenon dates back long before computers.
Master inventor and successful businessman Thomas Edison is best known for his electric light bulb. That discovery came in 1879, but several years later, he came up with something many Internet users would claim to be equally as awesome.
When he wasn't changing the world with his inventions, Edison was an expert on short films. He invented an early version of the video camera called the kinetoscope, and enjoyed putting the gadget to good use. He filmed a number of strange short films, including 18 seconds of people kissing and a trapeze performer taking her clothes off.
Then, there is this video supplied by the Library of Congress that was originally filmed in Edison's own studio in 1984:
The production named "Boxing Cats" is one his earliest film projects, which was part of Professor Henry Welton's famous "cat circus." The 20-second silent film shows a pair of cats wearing boxing gloves duking it out in a miniature boxing ring. The feline movie stars were a part of a "cat circus" that traveled around the country. The show consisted of cats riding bicycles and doing gymnastics, and the boxing match was the main event.
Edison's film could have been a promotional tool for the circus, but its biggest claim to fame is being the first ever silly cat video (even though it's technically a short film, not a video).
When people wanted a way to bring light into their homes at the flip of a switch, Edison delivered. And when they wanted to waste their time watching cat videos on repeat, he was more than happy to oblige.
Now you know who to thank the next time you get caught in the endless cycle of funny felines!
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This article was originally published July 10, 2017.