Westinghouse Works
Westinghouse Works
CinematographyG. W. Bitzer
Production
company
Release date
1904

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.[1] 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.

Collection

The films in the collection of the Library of Congress are:

  1. Assembling a generator, Westinghouse works
  2. Assembling and testing turbines, Westinghouse works
  3. Casting a guide box, Westinghouse works
  4. Coil winding machines, Westinghouse works
  5. Coil winding section E, Westinghouse works
  6. Girls taking time checks, Westinghouse works
  7. Girls winding armatures
  8. Panorama exterior Westinghouse works
  9. Panorama of Machine Co. aisle, Westinghouse works
  10. Panorama view street car motor room
  11. Panoramic view aisle B, Westinghouse works
  12. Steam hammer, Westinghouse works
  13. Steam whistle, Westinghouse works
  14. Taping coils, Westinghouse works
  15. Tapping a furnace, Westinghouse works
  16. Testing a rotary, Westinghouse works
  17. Testing large turbines, Westinghouse works
  18. Welding the big ring
  19. Westinghouse Air Brake Co. Westinghouse Co. works (casting scene)
  20. Westinghouse Air Brake Co. Westinghouse Co. works (moulding scene)
  21. Westinghouse Air Brake Co. Westinghouse works

Production

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.[2]

Release

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.[2]

References

  1. ^ Tiech, John (2012). Pittsburgh Film History. Charleston: The History Press. p. 8. ISBN 9781609497095.
  2. ^ a b Eagan, Daniel. (2010). America's film legacy : the authoritative guide to the landmark movies in the National Film Registry. National Film Preservation Board (U.S.). New York: Continuum. pp. 12–14. ISBN 9781441116475. OCLC 676697377.