Saturday, January 12, 2013

Northwest History in British Newsreels

Check this out--a fascinating World War Two era British newsreel of the wheat harvest near Walla Walla titled "Bread for the World:"


I am surprised to see horse-powered harvesting at such a late date. The narrator says that they use horses because of the steep hillsides but I wonder if wartime efforts to save fuel had something to do with it? In any case I love the intimate look at how horse-drawn harvesters worked, right down to the stitchers sewing up the bags of grain.

And here is a charming 1950s newsreel of crews in the North Cascades measuring the depth of snow to estimate spring runoff:

Finally, animal lovers should probably avert their eyes from this story of the famous Omak Stampede Suicide Race:

Both are from the British Path√© Archive. Though the great bulk of the content has to do with the UK, a search for Washington State turns up 18 newsreels, from a naval accident in 1932 to the Seattle World's Fair in 1962.

I love finding things like this--intimate views of local history that ended up in some distant archive but that are accessible again due to the magic of technology. They convince me yet again that technology is having its greatest impact on the practice of local history.

1 comment:

Charles Hansen said...

My dad was surprised when he moved out here from Montana that they still bagged the grain. In Montana they just loaded the grain into wagons and hauled it to the grain elevators where they tipped the wagons to unload the grain. He said they sealed the wagons so they would not leak the grain.