|Cinematography||G. W. Bitzer|
Westinghouse Works, 1904 is a collection of American short silent films, each averaging about three minutes in length. The films were taken from April 18, 1904 to May 16, 1904 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and document various Westinghouse manufacturing plants. They were made by G. W. "Billy" Bitzer of the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, were shown at the Westinghouse Auditorium at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, and may have been made for that purpose. At least 29 films were produced and 21 remain in the collection which is now a part of the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
The films in the collection of the Library of Congress are:
Westinghouse executives commissioned Biograph to produce these films, intending to exhibit them to their subsidiaries and employees, thus making them some of the earliest existing examples of what are now called industrial films. They cannot be called documentaries because they were paid for and made according to guidelines set by the manufacturing company. In addition, they cannot be called commercials because they do not advertise individual products and were not exhibited widely to elicit sales.
The films were the first to use mercury vapor lamps (conveniently made by Westinghouse) to illuminate its shots, and they were also the first to use crane shots. Bitzer primarily used stationary cameras and fixed lenses, and he typically shot the films in a single continuous take.
Most films did not have title cards, so many of their names were assigned by the Library of Congress.
The finished films were shown to Westinghouse employees in Pittsburgh, narrated by a speaker. They were later exhibited at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis (accompanied by organ music), and were received positively by audiences.