NOVEMBER 27, 2013

Perhaps the oldest “home movie” you will ever see

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A camera was placed on the front of a street car 107 years ago. Note the hats and long dresses. Many horse drawn vehicles were in use. Mass transit looked like the way to get around. Apparently everyone/no one had the right of way.

This film was "lost" for many years. The number of automobiles seems surprising for 1906. 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? Early version of going green.

This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum was able to determine almost exactly when it was shot as he employed data such as New York trade papers announcing the film showing, the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall, shadows indicating time of year and actual weather and conditions on historical record – even when the cars were registered (he even knew who owned them and when the plates were issued). It was filmed only four days before the Great California Earthquake of April 18, 1906 and shipped by train to New York for processing and copying.