Film and publishing entrepreneur. Chalmers was born in Tankerness (Orkney), the son of a grocer. He began his career as an apprentice printer for the Orkney Herald newspaper. He emigrated for the USA, settling initially in New York. He went on to establish the first world's film magazine, the Movie Picture Guide, in 1907. Chalmers championed cinema as a popular entertainment, but also in terms of art and education. He worked to prevent Thomas Edison from gaining restrictive patents of various aspects of moving film technology, effectively opening the medium to a much broader audience.
He died tragically in Ohio, when he fell down a lift shaft, having opened the wrong door while walking down a dark corridor.