2016 - Technical Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented to Mole-Richardson Co.

Peter Mole, founder of Mole-Richardson Co., was born in Sicily in 1891. At the age of six his family moved to New York. At Union College in Schenectady, NY, Peter Mole earned his Electrical Engineering Degree. From 1917 to 1923 he worked for General Electric Company and in 1923 moved to Los Angeles with his family. His first job was at Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studio in the electrical department. Peter Mole then went to work at a rental house in Hollywood. While working there, Peter Mole saw that the lighting equipment and techniques early filmmakers were using were not fulfilling their potential. With the advent of Panchromatic Black & White filmstock, he saw the possibility of using the new incandescent lighting to replace the less efficient carbon arc light as a way to light movie scenes.

Joining forces with Elmer C. Richardson, a shop superintendent and teacher, and Fielding C. Coates, a chief studio electrician, Peter Mole formed Mole-Richardson to pursue this new lighting. The first Mole-Richardson lights were built in a small machine shop at the rear of a garage on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, California. It was just eight short years later that the company won an Academy Award for its creation of the first Fresnel Spotlight. This would be the first of four Academy Award Certificates.

In 1927, Peter published an article in the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers (SMPE) on the cost savings of the new incandescent illumination. In 1928, Mole-Richardson was asked by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the American Society of Cinematographers to participate in their first Technical Report on Incandescent Illumination. The report published a picture of the new line of incandescent lights from Mole-Richardson. Peter Mole, Elmer C. Richardson and other Mole-Richardson members published many technical articles on lighting and lighting equipment in the SMPE Journals. These track most of the significant developments in an industry that has constantly changed in response to new technical developments and world events. Peter Mole became President of the SMPTE from 1951 to 1952 and stirred some controversy by embracing television as a viable compliment to motion picture entertainment instead of its rival.