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Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse 1940

  • December 31, 1940
  • 8 mins
  • Barney Elliott
  • English
  • Documentary

The collapse of the bridge was recorded on film by Barney Elliott, owner of a local camera shop. The film shows Leonard Coatsworth leaving the bridge after exiting his car. In 1998, The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. This footage is still shown to engineering, architecture, and physics students as a cautionary tale.Elliott's original films of the construction and collapse of the bridge were shot on 16 mm Kodachrome film, but most copies in circulation are in black and white because newsreels of the day copied the film onto 35 mm black-and-white stock. Most copies in circulation also show the bridge oscillating approximately 50% faster than real time, due to an assumption during conversion that the film was shot at 24 frames per second rather than the actual 16 fps. (Wikipedia)

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