Collection Inventing Entertainment: The Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies

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  • Freight train /

    From Edison films catalog: The long train is just coming out of the tunnel. An engine and a header, nineteen freight cars, a caboose and a pusher engine creep slowly round the curve and up the steep grade. Fine smoke effects. Magnificent scenery. 100 feet. $15.00. Advertised as part of the "Southern Pacific Company Series" (Edison films catalog): The Southern Pacific Company ("Sunset Route") ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Surf at Monterey /

    From Edison films catalog: The water breaks over the rocks, and is dashed into silvery spray, high into the air. Exceptionally fine water effects. 50 feet. $7.50. Advertised as part of the "Southern Pacific Company Series" (Edison films catalog): The Southern Pacific Company ("Sunset Route") offers special inducements to winter travelers, by reason of its southern route, thereby avoiding the extreme cold of the ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Procession of floats /

    From Edison films catalog: Taken at San Francisco, Cal., at the Golden Jubilee. In the foreground are seen crowds of people, all being very close to the camera. The first float is drawn by four white horses and is at least twenty feet long. It carries a full load of little school girls, who sit along its full length facing the sides of the ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Lick Observatory, Mt. Hamilton, Cal. /

    "The background of this picture is the Lick Observatory, Mount Hamilton, Cal. This observatory, the gift of James Lick, of Pennsylvania, was constructed at a cost of $700,000, being equipped with one of the most powerful telescopes that has ever been produced, and is famous the world over. The view of the Observatory is very complete, showing the style of architecture, including the glass ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Leander Sisters /

    The Leander Sisters perform a clever, characteristic dance called the "Yellow Kid." Stage is in the Sutro Baths, San Francisco, Cal., and the audience is composed largely of bathers. One sister appears to be dressed as Richard Outcault's Yellow Kid comic strip character.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • San Francisco Chinese funeral /

    This film shows most of the ceremonial portion of the funeral procession of Tom Kim Yung (1858-1903), military attache to the Chinese Legation to the United States. The funeral procession took place at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, September 23, 1903, and was probably the largest ever seen in Chinatown. Tom's death (note that Tom is the family name) was the tragic consequence of a ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Bird's-eye view of San Francisco, Cal., from a balloon /

    As early as 1874, passenger balloon flights were being made over San Francisco. San Franciscans - and Americans in general - were fascinated with the thrills and dangers of flight. Although balloon technology had not advanced greatly by the turn of the century, attempts at man-powered flight were sustaining public interest. The era of powered flight arrived in 1903 with the Wright brothers' flight ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • Sunset Limited, Southern Pacific Ry. /

    "Taken at Fingal, Cal., where the world-renowned "Sunset Limited" trains pass each other. One runs on a side track, and the other dashes by at a high rate of speed. Switch is then turned, and the train passes on, slowly receeding from view. 150 feet"--Edison films catalog. "Southern Pacific Company series: The Southern Pacific Company ("Sunset Route") offers special inducements to winter travelers, by ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Exploded gas tanks, U.S. Mint, Emporium and Spreckels Bld'g /

    This film is a spectacular pan of the downtown area of San Francisco as seen from south of Market Street. The location among low ruins was ideal to view the tall ruined buildings along and north of Market Street. Since the facade of St. Patrick's Church is not visible in the pan, the film is probably later than May 9, the date the facade ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • Return of lifeboat /

    "Shows a life boat coming through the breakers. The surf is high and the stout boat is tossed about like a cork. 50 feet"--Edison films catalog. "Pacific Coast Life Saving Service series: These subjects are illustrative of the work performed by the Life Saving Corps of the United States Government, and show the methods in vogue at one of the most important stations on ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Troops embarking at San Francisco /

    This film shows troops of the First Regiment, California Volunteers, boarding the Pacific Mail steamer City of Peking to serve in the Philippine theater of the Spanish-American War. The film was shot at the Pacific Mail Steamship Company dock between 10:50am and 1:50pm on Friday, May 13, 1898. The dock was located at First Street between Brannan and Townsend streets, and is now a ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Hotel Del Monte /

    "Shows a party of tourists at this famous resort; located in Monterey, Cal., on the Southern Pacific Railroad. The magnificence of its surroundings is clearly shown. 50 feet"--Edison films catalog. "Southern Pacific Company Series.The Southern Pacific Company ("Sunset Route") offers special inducements to winter travelers, by reason of its southern route, thereby avoiding the extreme cold of the winter months. Its course lies through ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Panoramic view of the Golden Gate /

    This film, photographed from the front of a moving steam engine, shows the scenic portion of the Ferries and Cliff House Railroad route along the bluffs and cliffs of Lands End (at the northwest corner of San Francisco) overlooking the Golden Gate and the Marin headlands. The line gave access to the famed Cliff House and Sutro Baths, previously accessed by the Point Lobos ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • South Spring Street, Los Angeles, Cal. /

    From Edison films catalog: Various equipages pass, including a tally-ho and six white horses. A peculiar, open-end trolley car comes along; bicycle riders and pedestrians. 50 feet. $7.50. Advertised as part of the "Southern Pacific Company Series" (Edison films catalog): The Southern Pacific Company ("Sunset Route") offers special inducements to winter travelers, by reason of its southern route, thereby avoiding the extreme cold of ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • S.S. "Coptic" in the harbor /

    From F.Z. Maguire catalogue: Shows the vessel away from the dock and slowly turning. The vessel is seen to good advantage, the four masts, smokestack and hull being faithfully reproduced. Clouds of smoke pour out of the funnel, and volumes of steam out of the exhaust pipe. In the foreground is a dense crowd, among which are numerous Chinamen. Clear and sharp with figures ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Union Iron Works /

    From Edison films catalog: Here was built the peerless battleship "Oregon." The scene is taken at lunch hour, and shows a great throng of employees leaving the shop. 50 feet. 7.50. Advertised as part of the "Southern Pacific Company Series" (Edison films catalog): The Southern Pacific Company ("Sunset Route") offers special inducements to winter travelers, by reason of its southern route, thereby avoiding the ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Troop ships for the Philippines /

    Shows the departure from San Francisco of two troop ships, the S.S. Australia and the S.S. City of Sydney, bound for Manila during the Spanish-American War. The first ship shown is the Australia with many troops on deck, some waving. The ship's name is visible on the hull at the end of the sequence. The second ship, the City of Sydney, is shown being ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Arrest in Chinatown, San Francisco, Cal. /

    This film shows the arrest and conveyance of a Chinese man in Chinatown, watched by a crowd of onlookers. The precise date of this film and the arrest charge are uncertain. It is possible that the arrest was connected with the smuggling of illegal immigrants from China. By mutual agreement between China and the United States, a small quota of merchants and students was ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Sutro Baths, no. 1 /

    From Edison films catalog: One of the sights of San Francisco. A 50-foot slide is used by the bathers, who toboggan down its slippery surface in all positions. The bathers are clad in black trunks, making fine contrast with the flesh tints. 50 feet. $7.50. "In the background are three tiers of spectators watching the bathers. There are many people bathing and diving into ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Mount Taw R.R., no. 3 /

    From Edison films catalog: View taken while ascending the scenic railroad, Marin Co., Cal. Right ahead is another train; the steep grades and dangerous curves are plainly shown. Grand mountain scenery is a striking feature of this picture. 140 feet. $21.00. Advertised as part of the "Southern Pacific Company Series" (Edison films catalog): The Southern Pacific Company ("Sunset Route") offers special inducements to winter ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Sutro Baths /

    From Edison films catalog: Another view in which the figures show larger. A springboard furnishes the bathers with much amusement; also a toboggan slide. 50 feet. $7.50. "A large indoor swimming pool is shown, as well as the walkways that separate the varying depths of the water, and a sign identifying the locale on the wall farthest from the camera position. In the immediate ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Building a harbor at San Pedro /

    From Edison films catalog: This picture was secured from a launch furnished by Mr. Eager, President of the California Construction Co., who are fulfilling this

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Feeding sea gulls /

    From Edison films catalog: A fine view of San Francisco Bay, from an Oakland ferryboat. Tug towing a scow passes by. Sea gulls sail through the air and dive into the seething wake of the boat. 40 feet. $6.00. Advertised as part of the "Southern Pacific Company Series" (Edison films catalog): The Southern Pacific Company ("Sunset Route") offers special inducements to winter travelers, by ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • After launching /

    From Edison films catalog: Taken near the Union Works, San Francisco, Cal., immediately after the launching of the Japanese Man-of-war "Chitose." The scene opens with the pleasure yacht "Unadilla" passing in the immediate foreground, her decks loaded with passengers. The boat slowly passes, until the stern is directly to the audience. The water in the wake of the yacht is churned by her screw ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Launch of life boat /

    "Pacific Coast Life Saving Service series: These subjects are illustrative of the work performed by the Life Saving Corps of the United States Government, and show the methods in vogue at one of the most important stations on either side of our Continent. The exact routine pursued in actual practice is clearly illustrated. We are particularly indebted to Major T.J. Blakeney, Superintendent of the ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897