Renting film prints became the economic basis for the commercial film industry, but how did the option take hold in early film exchanges in the United States? This article locates the origins of film renting in the shadows of a secondhand-film market. The classified want ads of the New York Clipper preserve a uniquely rich archive of this informal practice from 1896 to 1907. The later business of standardized film-rental distribution was, in part, structured by this weekly printed record of the marketplace of cinema and its calls to trade "new and second hand films bought, sold, exchanged and rented."