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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Talking Pictures: 1908

Talking Pictures: 1908

Niagara Falls, New York, circa 1908. "Falls Street at Night." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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No One Around

The town is a little bit lonely looking. But I like this picture, I was excited to finally see one from Niagara Falls. It is such an ignored town, & my grandparents were living there around that time so it's neat to see what it looked like when they were there, so thanks. I'd love to see more.

What's for Lunch?

Any chance of getting a close up on the lunch menu sign on the sidewalk two doors down from the Talking Pictures?

[Too blurry. - Dave]


I just received info from an Edison expert that the Cameraphone system used a 6-inch long cylinder (and thus could not have used the Victor Auxetophone amplified disc phonograph). However it did use a mechanical string and chalk Higham amplifier system which was later used by Edison in his talking picture system in 1914. The sound could have filled a small theater.

Merry Christmas Mr. Potter!

And a Happy New Year to you! In jail!

Life imitates art

looks like Bedford Falls!


That's William Howard Taft and his running mate James Sherman strung across the roadway amid the dazzling lights.

Not so wonderful

This looks like Pottersville in "It's a Wonderful Life" after George Bailey got his wish to never have been born.

Long Exposure

You can tell a very long exposure was used to take this picture. A "light trail" from the headlights of a moving vehicle start from the back of the street all the way to the left hand corner, where you see a glimpse of the lamp and criss-cross frame.

Where's George Bailey?

This looks A LOT like Bedford Falls in "It's a Wonderful Life."

Rudimentary, my dear Watson

If you zoom in you can see the "Cameraphone Actual Talking Pictures" handbill. The short-lived Cameraphone system attempted to synchronize motion pictures with a phonograph soundtrack, with usually unreliable results. The company went bankrupt in 1910. Even with sound and picture in synch, the audio couldn't have been very good, or even loud, seeing as how recording and playback in that era were entirely acoustic.

[Who can identify the pictures being shown? One looks like "Meadow-Brook Farm." - Dave]

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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