David Thompson


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November 29, 2010



The full size versions are wonderful. I think I can see George Bailey…


Niagara Falls?!?!

Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch...I took my revenge...



Perhaps the finest tribute of all came from inventor Nikola Tesla, whose patents for the polyphase system of alternating current and the induction motor were acquired by Westinghouse and gave the company its early leadership in electric power developments. Westinghouse used Tesla's system to light the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. This system was also a factor in winning the Westinghouse Electric Company the contract to install the first power machinery at Niagara Falls, which bore Tesla's name and patent numbers. Wrote Mr. Tesla, "George Westinghouse was, in my opinion, the only man on this globe who could take my alternating-current system under the circumstances then existing and win the battle against prejudice and money power. He was one of the world's true noblemen, of whom America may well be proud and to whom humanity owes an immense debt of gratitude."


Peter Jackson

It's interesting to see a sign advertising 'Talking Pictures' in the Niagara Falls photo. It seems there was a vogue for this in 1908, using actors behind the screen to mimic the movements and produce the voices of the actors on it. There's a post on it at Hearing the Movies (http://hearingthemovies.blogspot.com/2010/02/period-comments-on-talking-pictures.html ) with some contemporary press comments.


I was wondering about the 'Talking Pictures' too, Peter. An alternative explanation is that the cinema was using the 'Cameraphone' system. Here's a comment about it from Shorpy's site:

"If you zoom in you can see the "Cameraphone Actual Talking Pictures" handbill. The short-lived Cameraphone system attempted to synchronize motion pictures with a phonograph soundtrack, with usually unreliable results. The company went bankrupt in 1910. Even with sound and picture in synch, the audio couldn't have been very good, or even loud, seeing as how recording and playback in that era were entirely acoustic."

Peter Jackson

Ah, thanks for that witwood. I hadn't zoomed in sufficiently. That seems conclusive.

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