The coming of sound to the American cinema was not a revolution, but a systematic, gradual industrial evolution. The change is best explained by the interaction of many complex economic forces and the decisions of many profit-maximizing businessmen. The idea of adding sound to then silent motion pictures was not new to any of the entrepreneurs who headed the major motion picture firms in the 1920s. The history of attempted innovation began as early as 1892. By 1905, systems appeared on the average of one per year. All failed. In 1913, even Thomas A. Edison turned his firm’s talents to the problem. He induced vaudeville magnates John J. Murdock and Martin Beck to install his system into their New York theaters. Despite this backing, the apparatus proved unsuccessful. This signaled the end to any consideration of a sound system by a major entertainment firm until AT&T appeared in 1924 with its system, backed by its technical expertise and substantial financial resources.