Steam Hammer, Westinghouse Works, 1904


Steam Hammer, Westinghouse Works is one of 21 short films made at various Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company plants in April–May 1904 and shown at the Westinghouse Auditorium at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The films average about three minutes each. This film, made at the Westinghouse plant in East Pittsburgh, shows workmen using an enormous steam hammer to fashion a large part for an industrial machine. With the help of a crane, the workers lift a block of heated steel from a furnace to a table, where a steam-driven hammer pounds the block into the desired shape. The men oversee the work and turn the block several times. Westinghouse Electric was founded in 1886 by George Westinghouse (1846–1914), inventor of the railroad air brake and a pioneering entrepreneur of the electrical industry. The firm was heavily involved in the electrification of the United States and manufactured generators, coils, and turbines at its Pittsburgh plant. The 1904 films were made by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, a firm founded in 1895 that used a device called the Mutoscope to produce motion pictures. It consisted of a drum around which hundreds of photographs were arranged in sequence, and its rotation rapidly flipped the photographs, advancing the film. The filming was done by G.W. "Billy" Bitzer (1872–1944), an early cinematographer best known for his association with the director D.W. Griffith.

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Publication Information

American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, United States


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Physical Description

1 reel (197 feet) : black and white ; 35 millimeters. Duration : 3:29 at 15 frames per second

Last updated: December 12, 2017