Friday, April 15, 2011

1906 San Francisco Street Car film

I showed this to my students:
Going back in time!

This film was "lost" for many years. It was the first 35 mm film ever. It was taken by a camera mounted on the front of a cable car.

The amount of automobiles is for 1906 is bewildering, and so are the trams, trolley buses, horse drawn wagons – jay walking was then the rule and definitely no traffic rules. Quite astonishing!
The clock tower at the end of Market Street at the Embarcadero wharf is still there. (How many "street cleaning" people were employed to pick up after the horses? Talk about going green!).

This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!).. It was filmed only four days before the quake and shipped by train to NY for processing.
Great historical film worth watching:

I then showed this video. I think it's the same street but after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake:

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    My name is Alexandra Maniaci and I’m a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed watching these two videos. It’s unfortunate that so much damage can be done by an earthquake. It must have been devastating for them, just as the recent natural disasters have been in the other parts of the world. I can see what you mean about there not being any traffic laws! It’s a good thing we now have rules on how to drive. Otherwise it would be too chaotic. It’s amazing how someone could tell the exact days that these videos were made!


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