Collection America at Work, America at Leisure: Motion Pictures from 1894-1915

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  • Carriers at work, U.S.P.O. /

    The subject is the handling and sorting of the U.S. mail. The sorting bags and the alphabetizing pigeonhole equipment are visible in a scene photographed from an altitude of approximately twenty-five feet. The placement of the equipment and its use by the post office personnel can be seen.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Steam hammer, Westinghouse works /

    From what appears to be a furnace, a large, glowing block is lifted with the help of a crane over to a table by a group of men. A hammer comes from above and pounds down on the block repeatedly as the men turn the block several times so that it will acquire a certain shape.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Women of the ghetto bathing /

    The subject is a group of women bathing in a public swimming pool. The camera was placed on the edge of the pool and the full extent of the film shows the women in the pool. Only the heads and shoulders of most of the women are visible but it is possible to see they are wearing rented bathing attire.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • A trip around the Pan-American Exposition /

    The entire film was photographed from an excursion vessel traveling through all of the waterways surrounding the Exposition. The major exhibit buildings and amusement attractions of the fair can be seen as the boat makes its way through the area, going through tunnels and under bridges. "The Pan-American Exposition is encircled by an especially constructed canal, which was put in for the purpose of ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Testing a rotary, Westinghouse works /

    A small group of men turn on what appears to be a generator. As the rotary spins, the men make adjustments to the machine and check its operations.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Skating on lake, Central Park /

    The view is of a frozen lake in Central Park crowded with ice skaters. The film is of such poor quality that it is difficult to tell if the apparent "snow" is real or just scratches on the film.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • [Claremont Theatre, N.Y.] /

    Shows the entrance to the Claremont Theatre in New York City at 135th St. and Broadway where Edison is showing Gertrude McCoy and Bigelow Cooper in On the stroke of twelve. Large numbers of men, women and children leave the theater, some as many as two or three times. Delivery boys, a wagon, automobiles and a boy on rollerskates pass by.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1915
  • Opening ceremonies, St. Louis exposition /

    The principal buildings surrounding the square at the St. Louis Exposition are shown in a nearly 360-degree pan. The last portion of the film was photographed over the heads of spectators cheering the dedication speaker.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Clerks casing mail for bags, U.S.P.O. /

    The subject is an operation of mail handling called "casing." The camera was placed so that two men can be seen demonstrating the method. The demonstrators, with stacks of letters in their hands, place them in one of many apertures built into a cabinet or "case."

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Horse parade at the Pan-American Exposition /

    There is a paved street in the foreground and on the curbing on the opposite side spectators have gathered to watch a parade. In the background are several large exposition buildings. A band in uniform passes the camera, and following that are many show horses of various types led by their handlers. From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: HORSE PARADE AT THE PAN-AMERICAN ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Delivering newspapers /

    The film shows a group of about fifty pre-adolescent boys running and crowding around a one-horse paneled newspaper van that pulls up in the foreground of the picture. On the side of the van is a sign reading "New York World." As they gather around the rear of the vehicle, a fight breaks out between two of the boys. The film ends as the ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • A rube couple at a county fair /

    From Edison films catalog: Scene I--Driving into the Grounds. Scene II--Machinery department. Scene III--Getting weighed. Scene IV--On the Pike. Scene V--Looking at the big pumpkins. Scene VI--Cattle parade. Scene VII--Trotting race, with female jockeys. Scene VIII-- Hurdle jumping, female riders. Scene IX--High school horse. Scene X--Slide for life. 540 Ft. $81.00.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Annual parade, New York Fire Department /

    Dignitaries are shown as they alight from a horse-drawn brougham and enter the speaker's bleachers. Next, personnel of the New York Fire Department walk by the camera. One of every piece of fire-fighting equipment then used by the department passes.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Drill by Providence police /

    "In the center of a town square, a company of uniformed policemen equipped with nightsticks is standing at attention. The policemen execute several close-order drill maneuvers similar to those of any army infantry company. They end as they began, company front"--Early motion pictures.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Japanese village /

    At the beginning of the film, at a distance of about one-hundred feet, is a two-story building with a balcony, some tropical plants, and a telephone pole. A young Japanese man appears directly in front of the camera. He is accompanied by two small Japanese boys attired in tight knee britches and rather loose sleeved blouses. The three of them exhibit their gymnastic powers ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Driving cattle to pasture /

    The camera was placed to get the best view of the many cattle being driven toward grazing land. Edision Foundation records (envelope 135): "photographed by A. C. Abadie, May 9, 1904, Bliss, Oklahoma Territory. Showing a large number of cattle being rounded up in a pasture."

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Post man delivering mail, U.S.P.O. /

    "This film shows the delivery of the U.S. mail, in a rural area. A two-horse vehicle, with a sign reading "U.S. Mail," appears on the scene. The postal employee gets out of the vehicle and places mail in a standard metal mail box. A woman comes out of her house and removes the mail from the mail box, then buys stamps from the mail ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Kindergarten ball game /

    A row of approximately twenty-five children under the age of six can be seen facing the camera. They stand in front of a long blackboard with the words "Kansas City, Mo." written on it. As the film continues, the children bounce the balls they have in their hands, then form a circle and march around the bouncing balls.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Central high school, gymnastic drill /

    The cameraman placed his equipment at the edge of a school yard where supervised gymnastics were being conducted by high school students. Male students can be seen doing the long and short "horse" exercises to the left of the camera position. In the center, a group of young girls are engaged in using the parellel bars and to the right of the camera, some ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Pan-American Exposition by night /

    The film begins with a slow pan over the tower building of the exposition, which was lighted by electric lights. The pan goes from a daylight shot of the grounds to what appears to be a special effects situation involving back lighting of the scene. From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION BY NIGHT. Unhagata. [code for telegraphic orders] A great feature ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Chicago-Michigan football game /

    Excerpts of a 1903 football game between the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan. Includes views of the uniformed players, the spectators in the stadium and surrounding stands, and the game itself.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • A glimpse of the San Diego exposition /

    The film begins from a single-camera position high above the Exposition grounds. The camera begins to pan from left to right, following the horizon. The picture includes all of the spires and buildings of the fair. Then the camera is moved to the Exposition midway and footage is taken of the California exhibit, the Panamanian exhibit, and many others. The emphasis is on the ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1915
  • Loading the ice on cars, conveying it across the mountains, and loading it into boats /

    The film covers four operations involved in shipping ice: sawing the ice from frozen-over lakes, transferring it by means of speciality constructed freight cars to a dock some distance away, unloading it, and then transloading it onto a waiting ship.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • Westinghouse Air Brake Co. Westinghouse Co. works (casting scene) /

    What appear to be molds pass by some men on conveyor belts. The men take them off the belt and dump the contents onto the ground. Other men pick up with tongs the parts that have been dumped onto the ground and put them on a pile in the foreground.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Panorama of Machine Co. aisle, Westinghouse Co. works /

    A camera on an overhead crane travels down a large, long aisle where men are shown working on large machinery on either side. Carts carrying equipment are shown traveling on rails down the aisles. There are also men walking in the aisles.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904