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>Does anyone out there know when and by whom the zoom lens was invented?
>And in which movie(s) it was first used?
 
    I can't guarantee it's the first, but one of the earliest uses I've
    seen is in one of those '30s Maurice Chevalier musicals--LOVE ME
    TONIGHT (1932), I think.  Directed by Rouben Mamoulian.
 
    From what I understand, the variable focus length lens they used back
    then was a big, boxy thing where you manually manipulated the lens
    elements.