How Our Country Grew

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Moving Image:How Our Country Grew
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How Our Country Grew is a short film from 1950 released on 16mm. It is held in the Prelinger Archives collection.

Focuses on growth of farming; manufacturing; transportation and how they have contributed to the country's development.

CU of painting of George Washington; drawings of Philadelphia, Boston and New York circa 1789 maps of colonial America; man hoeing land; modern farm; large farm equipment; mechanical reaper; tractor blacksmith at work; men (workers) leaving plant; unloading ships; riverboat (interior); paddlewheel locomotives; many coal cars growth of country on the coasts and rivers; also along railroad tracks; oil fields early automobile; hydroelectric dam; drawing of horsedrawn streetcar; electric trolley car subways; commuting by train; skyscrapers; elevator; scientist; microscope; purification of water; inspection of milk; people leaving church; school rooms; "The modern city today is the foundation of our civilization. Our country's strength is the strength of its cities, its weakness is their weakness."

08:42:31:19 Farmer hoeing land.

08:42:41:14 High-angle shot large monoculture field; pan over large monoculture field

08:42:58:13 Pan over cattle

08:43:09:28 great shot large tractor combine harvesting grain drive across frame at angle; tractor plowing land; large combine drive across frame; CU tractor digging up potato crop

08:43:56:15 LS huge manufacturing factory, sign in front of building reads Cutter ; 1940s cars parked out front.

08:44:07:07 VS man heats piece of metal on open fire then begins to hammer the glowing end of the metal bar;

08:44:21:23 Large steam powered factory machine, huge cylinder spinning in circles, various visible gears and steam; CU automatic machine arm with roller stamping tops of boxes quickly passing by on conveyor.

08:44:33:24 1940s workers leaving factory, most men carrying metal lunch pales.

08:44:46:13 Simple animation shows the growth of the factory and its related institutions.

08:45:09:14 Freight train yard, one train begins to produced white smoke exhaust

08:45:16:10 Cargo craned onto freighter steamship

08:45:25:25 Map of the United States; Mississippi River highlighted on map; major cities along the Mississippi river marked on map

08:45:47:28 MS back of man steering a river boat; low-angle shot riverboat smoke stack producing tons of smoke; MS paddlewheel in back of riverboat.

08:46:16:10 Antique locomotive passes camera, W M Crooks painted below window of train engineer; tracking shot over huge freight yard with freight cars filled with coal.

08:46:45:04 animated map of the United States illustrates the expansion of railroads from east to west.

08:47:04:29 VS huge oil fields covered in oil wells; oil pump in middle of oil field.

08:47:14:22 Period shot of old western town at turn of the century, antique automobile driven by man with one woman as passenger speeds around corner and nearly hits man on bicycle

08:47:23:26 High-angle shot of highway in 1940s, four lanes.

08:47:39:18 Pan down huge hydroelectric dam.

08:47:56:11 Shot down busy California street in 1940s; tracking shot from hood of car driving on busy California street, possibly in LA.

08:48:16:10 Electric trolley car, woman holding baby boards trolley car in middle of street; trolley car pulls out of tunnel; 9 Richland electric trolley bus pulls past camera, sign for Andover in front window of bus; San Francisco 14 Mission bus drives down street, sign on side of bus for Baseball at Seals Stadium

08:48:51:27 High-angle shot large highway in 1940s passing through industrial area

08:48:59:28 Old commuter train pulls into station, California station with red tile roof.

08:49:18:21 Pan up tall 1930s era brick building

08:49:46:12 MS man focusing microscope; shot through microscope of tiny microbes swimming around.

08:50:37:12 Large class of kids about 4 to 6 years old working on arts and crafts in 1940s

08:50:43:16 large class of teenagers at long desks each with their own microscopes.

08:50:47:15 LS children playing on playground nestled in lush park

08:50:57:07 high-angle pan over what looks like Oakland

17:18:16 CU portrait of George Washington 17:18:57 Farmer hoeing in field 17:19:16 Cultivated fields 17:19:26 Cattle 17:19:43 Reaper and power tractors in fields: cultivators, plows, potato diggers, etc. 17:20:23 Exterior of factory 17:20:35 Blacksmith forging 17:20:55 Automated machinery 17:21:00 Workers leaving factory with lunch pails. 17:21:20 Graphics showing industrial expansion 17:21:35 Railroad yards 17:21:38 Shipping yards-ships being loaded 17:22:15 CU captain at wheel of riverboat. CU riverboat smokestack and paddlewheel. 17:22:27 Map of Great Lakes 17:22:40 Steam locomotive 17:23:30 Oil fields 17:23:45 Horseless carriage 17:23:56 Highway traffic 17:24:08 Hydroelectric Dam 17:24:22 City Traffic (Los Angeles?) 17:24:43 Woman with baby boards electric trolley car. 17:24:56 Electric trolley car emerges from subway tunnel 17:25:05 Trackless trolleys (trolley buses, electric buses) 17:25:14 Buses 17:25:20 Freeways 17:25:30 Commuter trains 17:25:39 Pan up skyscraper 17:26:10 Scientist looking through microscope. 17:26:20 Bacteria under microscope 17:26:36 Laboratory technician testing milk 17:26:49 People leaving church 17:27:04 Young children in classroom 17:29:00 Children in playground 17:27:20 Pan across cityscape THE END

 07:33:46:05- 07:34:19:28

Starts with tractors and mowers harvesting land and moves into a still shot of a factory.


Interesting black-and-white graphics of factories, homes, and stores literally popping up on a plain black background.


Great low angle, moving train POV shot of coal deposits.


Good shot of an old car (narrator is discussing the "advent of the automobile") flying around the corner of what looks like Main Street of a western town. This shot is contrasted by a cut to a brief view of 1940s cars moving along an expressway.


Nice medium long shot of cars driving along an urban (San Francisco) street in which there are cars, buses on tracks, and pedestrians. This shot moves into a low angle, driving POV behind the cars.

Great shot of N-Judah trolley (streetcar) in San Francisco which cuts to car POV moving down a hill as other cars move towards the frame from the opposite lane.

How Our Country Grew
Produced byProgressive Pictures
Progressive Pictures
Distributed byProgressive Pictures
Release date
Running time
ewid: 2881 | Fresh | || dopt: {{{dopt}}}