Mar 30 2014
One of the best resources is the book Special Effects: The History and Technique by Richard Rickitt, and some good books on the history of places like ILM and Digital Domain (look at my books area for more about them).
If you would rather check out free info there is of course a ton of info, a few samples of which follow.
Tim Dirks has done a great timeline of the history of film effects from the earliest days. Entitled “Greatest Visual and Special Effects (F/X) – Milestones in Film “ check it out below.
Andy Stout did a 6 part article on the history of effects in cinema
For another timeline of effects, check out Nova’s site (geared towards teachers)
Mathew Hunt has created a good page covering the history of cinema in general.