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Vintage Engineering Education Films Collection, 2 DVD Set

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A tribute to Engineers. Watch their biggest accomplishments, and notable failures. The aim of this collection is to inspire and educate.



Engineering Films Library, 2 DVD Collection

Engineering is the discipline of acquiring and applying scientific and technical knowledge to the design, analysis, and/or construction of works for practical purposes. The American Engineers' Council for Professional Development, also known as ECPD, (later ABET ) defines Engineering as: "The creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation and safety to life and property."  One who practices engineering is called an engineer, and those licensed to do so have formal designations such as Professional Engineer, Chartered Engineer or Incorporated Engineer. The broad discipline of engineering encompasses a range of specialized sub-disciplines that focus on the issues associated with developing a specific kind of product, or using a specific type of technology.

Modern day engineers touch every fabric of our lives.  Be it your cell phone, your car, your tv, or the chair you are sitting in.  These films talk about engineering as it was 50 or 60 years ago.  They were meant to educate and to inspire younger engineers, or engineering hopefuls.  If you are an engineer, or know someone who is, you will find the films on this disk engrossing, entertaining, and perhaps nostalgic.  Non-engineers may still be intrigued by the educational value provide here.

This collection contains about 3 and a half hours of films on this subject on 2 DVD's.  Each DVD has a fully interactive menu.  The list of films included is as follows:


American Engineer (1956)

4 part tribute to engineers and their role in improving American life through technology.

4 Part, Sound, Color, 28:11

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Conquering Roads (1937)

Highway engineering and development in the pre-Interstate era.  This 30s Jam Handy film talks about the improvements in roads that have had to be made to keep up with innovations in cars. Divided highways, rotary traffic circles, railroad trestles, and cloverleaf junctions are particularly highlighted. This is a good historical record of the evolution of roads in the first half of the 20th century, and the breezy Jam Handy style makes it more interesting than it might be.

Sound, B&W, 8:48

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Down the Gasoline Trail (1935)

Cartoon showing what happens to a drop of gasoline from the time it flows into the gas tank to when it is exploded in the engine cylinder. This "fantastic voyage" through a glisteningly clean Chevrolet engine is an excellent example of the soft-sell industrial, where the product that's promoted is hardly ever mentioned by name.

Sound, B&W, 7:57

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Free Air (1937)

Dramatic depiction of how gasoline and air mix to provide power in the automobile engine.

Sound, B&W, 9:39

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Freedom of the American Road (1955)

Henry Ford II introduces this film designed to encourage private citizens to unite and support road improvement. Part of the lobbying campaign that culminated in legislation authorizing the Interstate Highway system in 1956, this film shows community efforts to improve and increase safety on the Bayshore Highway in the San Francisco Bay Area; congestion in Pittsburgh and the Golden Triangle redevelopment area; the economic benefits of Boston's circumferential highway, Route 128; and safety education in St. Joseph, Missouri. Narrator: Westbrook van Voorhis.

Sound, B&W, 30:07

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Getting Acquainted With Engineering (ca 1950s)

Discusses the problem of capable boys who are lost to engineering because of their misconceptions about the type of work involved. Stresses the importance of high school background, testing and counseling.

2 Part, Sound, Color, 22:35

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Men, Steel and Earthquakes (ca. 1960s)

The anatomy of seismic energy and its destructive effects on structures.  Explains how seismic forces are measured and why some buildings collapse during an earthquake, while others stand. Uses animated drawings to show the way a quake begins inside the earth, then travels to the surface. Pictures the actual destruction caused by earthquakes in detail.

Sound, Color, 27:55

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Precisely So (1937)

Surreal film on measurement of tiny quantities.

2 Part, Sound, B&W, 19:09

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The Safest Place (1935)

How the automobile is the safest place a person can be.  This brief, rudimentary promotional film from Chevrolet contends that its automobiles offer safety for its drivers and passengers, provided that everyone on the road is practicing proper driving habits. Although the suggestion that the automobile is a "living room on wheels" may be questionable to those who dislike the confines of the vehicle, the film does accomplish its purpose of highlighting some of the most important elements of careful driving.

Sound, B&W, 6:23

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Tacoma Fire Dept, Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Footage of the Tacoma Narrows bridge wobbling and eventually, collapsing. This film is shown to every single engineering student in college to this very day to demonstrate the theory of resonance, which shows that structures can be excited tremendously by small forces delivered in phase.

Silent, B&W, 3:53

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Through the Canal Bottom (1912)

Scenes of the Panama Canal under construction.

Sound, B&W, 5:18

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To Enrich Mankind (1955)

A man in white coat talking to Archimedes in room full of stone and bronze busts of famous scientists researchers. We learn about how machines have improved Western civilization.

Sound, Color, 22:25

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Tough Friends (1938)

How steel and steel alloys make the modern automobile safer and more durable.

Sound, B&W, 10:42

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DVD Menu Sampler:

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  • Model: DVD-TCA-J11

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