Porcelain Lamp (1921)

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This feature film was part narrative, part educational, and was funded by the now-forgotten Cole Motor Company of Indianapolis. With the use of both live-action and animation, it tells the story of how gasoline engines came into being, thus enabling the manufacture of modern-day automobiles. Engineer Grayson Whitney (Harry Bannister) shows his friend (Herbert Fields) a porcelain lamp. When his friend asks him how he got it, he tells the story of inventor Anton Daimier (Jean Borden). After failing to discover an effective liquid fuel, Daimier becomes poverty-stricken. His wife (Doris Sheerin) gives him a porcelain lamp to pawn. Daimier falls asleep and dreams that Mercury (Walter Brown) emerges from the lamp to show him how travel has evolved since ancient times. When Daimier wakes up he takes a bottle and fills the lamp, but when he lights it, he causes an explosion. It turns out that the bottle contained gasoline, and it inspires Daimier to invent a gasoline engine, which leads to the invention of the "modern motor vehicle." After finishing the story, Grayson reveals that he got the lamp from Daimier's granddaughter as a token of her gratitude for a favor.