“Motion Picture is the Wonder of the World”

I came across this startling passage in my research this morning — startling because it is so gushingly and unabashedly naive considering Henry D. Hubbard was the Secretary of the Bureau of Standards. More startling still, I find I unabashedly agree with his assessment, flying carpets and all:

In conclusion, may I express my deep appreciation of your work and the art it serves. To me the motion picture is the wonder of the world in its effects and possibilities. Its uses in education, science, recreation, industry, engineering, and social movements make it vie in interest and power with the printing press itself. It speaks the universal language of action.

It is the magic carpet of Bagdad to take us to all lands, under sea and under land, among the clouds, to fairyland and to the world’s markets, laboratories, hospitals, and factories. In portraying the flight of a bullet it magnifies time, in recording the unfolding of a flower fro the bud it compresses days into seconds. It is not making the world a little neighborhood, it is rather making of each neighborhood a little world.

It intensifies life by broadening its contact with all life — for it is your business to bring into the experience of each the experience of all. Through the motion picture, in fact, we may create new experience, for nowhere has the magic of the miraculous been so tangibly realized as on the screen. The quickening effect of this wonderful art upon social evolution is beyond estimate.

Its possibilities are limited only by the power of the creative imagination and the technical powers of the engineer. Its success depends not upon subject alone but upon the factors of economy, efficiency, safety, comfort, and interest, which in turn depend upon scientific standardization.

From, “Standardization,” Address by Henry D. Hubbard, Secretary, U.S. National Bureau of Standards Before the Society of Motion Picture Engineers at its Washington Meeting, Monday, July 24, 1916.


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