104 Year Old Video of San Francisco

I love stuff like this.  Today a friend sent me this 7 minute video that is truly amazing…once you start watching I dare you to stop!  I didn’t fact check it, but several reports on the web place this video in San Francisco just a few days before the 1906 earthquake.  It was filmed from the front of a trolley car going down Market street.  There is so much to notice in the video but some things that struck me:

  • The ladies are wearing some serious hats…did I see fruit in one?!
  • There are a surprising amount of cars (for 1906 in the “wild west”). Ford didn’t start making cars until 1908.  On Wikipedia I read that automobiles were a “novelty” during this time.
  • All of the cars where I could discern the driver were right-hand-drive.  There must have been an “open debate” by the engineers on this…was the Model T the definitive answer?
  • While it seems there are no rules of the road (at least none recognizable in the modern era) but there must have been rules otherwise no one would have survived.  For example, on the back of every car is a license plate.
  • The street is really wide (wider than today!).  I didn’t expect that.
  • I really with it was in color.  These black and white videos show so much, but they also (mistakenly) convey a drabness that likely wasn’t reality.

Anyway, I’ll leave the rest for your viewing pleasure.

Update: a lot of great feedback from folks at Hacker News including a link to this contemporaneous video from across the bay in Berkeley. Amazing!

Brilliant! Here’s a video of the same journey in 2005.

And here is an awesome way to watch them both side-by-side with YouTube Doubler (note to mute the video on the left).