International Mutoscope Reel Company

The International Mutoscope Reel Company was formed in the early 1920s to produce Mutoscope machines and the motion picture reels that the machines played, and continued to manufacture arcade machines, including the claw machine, until 1949.


The mutoscope is a peep show-style movie viewer that was first manufactured by the American Mutoscope and Biograph company, and is notable for being one of the first means by which motion pictures were exhibited. The company gradually changed its focus to motion picture production and projection, and by the early 1920s, had stopped production of both mutoscopes and the movie reels that were played by the machines. The company also produced arcade photo booths under the name of "Photomatic". These produced a souvenir 2-5/8" x 3-1/16" metal-framed photo with the credit on the back, "Taken by the Photomatic."

Rather than allowing the format, still popular in arcades and amusement areas, to disappear, entrepreneur William Rabkin was given permission to continue producing mutoscope reels and machines using the trademarked name. By 1925, he had formed the International Mutoscope Reel Company for the purpose of manufacturing new movie reels to play on both the old mutoscope machines and the new ones that the company started selling. During the golden age of the penny arcade, the company produced a number of amusement machines, including fortune tellers and skill games, and may have been the first to market the claw machine.[1] The company went out of business in 1949.

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  1. ^ "Pin Game", Time, December 24, 1934,