Hollywood is synonymous with the film industry. However, before Hollywood attracted all the talent, Montgomery County was already home to one the film industry’s giants, Siegmund Lubin.
From 1912 to 1922, Betzwood was a destination for people in the film industry. Located in West Norriton, silent films were made by Siegmund Lubin and his staff. A Jewish immigrant from modern day Poland, Lubin immigrated to Philadelphia in 1876, where he worked as an optician. Lubin’s understanding of lenses helped him to create silent films in his back yard. Lubin expanded his film production sites in Philadelphia three times before he bought Betzwood in 1912. Using nineteenth century buildings formerly owned by brewer John F. Betz, Lubin used the West Norriton property to film and produce multiple silent films. Unfortunately, the studio was unable to keep up with the ever-changing film industry and was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1916. In 1918 Wolf Brothers, Inc. took over the Betzwood Film Company and kept it operational until 1922.