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Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse

Page history last edited by Steve Escher 12 years, 7 months ago

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse



Freelance newsreelman Barney Elliot owned a local camera shop near the Tacoma Narrows bridge.  He and his friend Harbine Monroe documented the bridge construction and were contacted by a bridge engineer the day of the collapse.  They went out to the bridge and used a Bell and Howell 16mm camera to capture footage of the undulating bridge and the eventual collapse from several different angles.  Their film was one of the first 16mm films converted to 35mm for use in newsreels to be played in movie theaters (1).  Historic newsreels converted the footage to black and white. 



This silent black and white film includes incredible footage of the bridge building process, including workers climbing on the support wires.


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This item is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives

Creative Commons license: Public Domain



This clip shows the collapse in full color.  Footage of the bridge being built and opening day are shown along with the undulating bridge the day of the collapse. 


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Here is an example of historic newsreel footage converted from the original film, with commentary.


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For more information, visit: 






1.  Elliot, Ed.  (n.d.). The Collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  Tacoma, WA: The Camera Shop.  Retrieved May 1, 2008, from http://www.camerashoptacoma.com/home.

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