American Memory: Technical summary

Thomas Edison Images

Movie portion of future American Memory collection
URL for preview

Collection Overview

Actuality motion pictures produced by the Edison Manufacturing Company. Include the first motion picture copyrighted (1894), camera tests (1891-1893), and a wide array of titles showing various famous people, news events, disasters, people at work, new modes of travel and technology, scenic views, expositions, and other leisure events. As actualities declined in popularity, Edison's production shifted to comedies and dramas. Trick films, which relied on the camera technology to achieve fantastic effects, were also a staples of this pioneer motion picture company.
Source collection
Paper Prints Motion Picture Collection , Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division
Technical features
Silent motion picture footage originally shot at varying frame rates (many at about 15 frames per second). Includes the very earliest examples of this new technology.
Original material formats
Number of original items
100-200 (initial release), 50-100 (second release)
Status of collection
Preview with 8 samples available online as of November 1997. Most similar collection is Inside an American Factory: The Westinghouse Works, 1904.
Public access
The Library is not aware of any restrictions that inhibit public access to this collection. See notes on rights and restrictions provided by the Library to users of similar collections.

Aids to intellectual access

Type & granularity
MARC bibliographic records. Each bib. record describes a single item.
Linking to digital reproductions
Bibliographic record contains identifier used in filenames for all versions and segments of movie. MPEG and QuickTime files for motion pictures longer than four minutes are divided into segments.

Digital reproductions

Total file-space for digital reproductions: 5 Gbytes (estimated)

Motion Pictures Service file Service file Inline thumbnail
(still image)
Marker Filename extension ".mpg" Filename extension ".mov" Filename ends "t"
Formats MPEG-1 QuickTime GIF
Data rate ca. 1.2 Mbits/sec ca. 640 Kbits/sec 8 bit
Image size 320x240 pixels 160x120 pixels 300x100 pixels
Frame rate 30 fps 10-15 fps n/a
Color depth n/a 24 bits 8 bits
File size 5-35 Mbytes 2-18 Mbytes 90 Kbytes
Quantity 275 (est.) 275 (est.) 250
Sample Sample MPEG Sample QuickTime N/A

Library of Congress contribution to Digital Libraries Initiative - Phase II [Site Map]
Collections available: [List] [Rights] [Samples] [Handover]
Technical notes: [Documents] [Images] [Maps] [Sound recordings] [Motion pictures]