I was researching Barcelona, and ran across several videos, which brought other videos to mind. In the first decade of the 20th century, it was common to make a film of a city while riding through on a tram.
Each city here looks a bit different–the buildings and the scenery, I mean–and the vehicles vary, but it’s interesting to note how similar all the people are. Because, after all, these are urban areas…
(SUGGESTION: Turn your sound off and watch more than one of these at the same time. If you scroll up and down, it’s easy to forget which is which…)
Belfast, Ireland, 1901. Notice the horse-drawn trams.
Bradford, England in 1902
Manhattan (Broadway) in 1903. Because it’s Broadway, it’s very crowded.
San Francisco in 1905. Notice HOW MANY automobiles there are.
This is Barcelona in 1908…notice how many bicycles there are ;o)
Porto, Portugal in 1912 or so. Very few automobiles in this video (the first dealership only opened there in 1909.) It’s rather long and much of it is scenery, but in the sections with people, the similarity to the others is marked.
What interests me most about these is how similar the people within them are. Most go about their business, a few ham it up for the camera. The dress of the time for city dwellers was fairly similar from country to country (Europe and America, I mean) and even throughout the 11 years that these videos span.