Edgerton Short Subjects and Testing Sonar Equipment

Charles River, Boston MA; MIT Sailing Pavilion, Cambridge MA; Vineyard Sound MA
Harold E. Edgerton
Film type:
16 mm color Ansco and Kodachrome film
Run time:
Bradford W. Luther Jr., Harold E. Edgerton
This film includes examples from Harold E. Edgerton’s research on high-speed photography as well as on underwater sonar surveying. The first two short clips, projected in slow motion, feature a piano wire being struck and the ensuing vibrations, and a mousetrap being set off with a pencil. The second section of the film features several oceanography-related subjects around New England and collaborations with researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Regarding a local project, Bradford W. Luther, Jr. who discovered the Vineyard Sound Lightship wreck using Edgerton’s sonar instruments in 1963, marks the chart location of the wreck site. The TRIESTE bathyscaphe was outfitted with Edgerton-designed sonar instruments in preparation for expeditions later that year. Edgerton is filmed working with a variety of sonar probes and signaling instruments during fieldwork conducted in New England, and testing instruments in the Charles River. Also filmed are several Navy ships, their crew and officers.

Tagged: Charles River, high speed photography, Mediterranean, MIT Sailing Pavilion, mousetrap, oceanography, piano wire, slow motion, sonar, submersible, TRIESTE, Vineyard Lightship, Vineyard Sound Lightship, WHOI, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

00:00:01 Introductory information: film title, synopsis, date, run time.
00:00:08 Film begins. High-speed (slow motion) film footage of a piano hammer striking a piano string, showing the resulting vibrations. Footage is quite shaky, as though the camera is resting on the piano.
00:02:01 High-speed footage of a mousetrap being set off by a pencil.
00:02:42 Harold E. Edgerton arranges a deep-sea camera in his laboratory at MIT, and poses next to it.
00:02:48 Edgerton arranges another deep-sea camera on a yellow frame in his lab and poses next to it; the film runs faster than normal speed.
00:02:59 Detail of the yellow frame camera assembly with two cameras mounted side by side (for stereo photography).
00:03:03 Still b/w shot of Edgerton and an unidentified young man looking at a display of underwater photography equipment.
00:03:12 Still b/w shot of a deep-sea camera with its back removed, exposing the internal film mechanisms.
00:03:23 Still b/w shot of the sea bottom taken during an expedition in 1961 with Edgerton, John B. Hersey and [Alex?] Johnson on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) research vessel CHAIN (likely expedition #19) [see HEE-SC-06199].
00:03:47 Annotated sonar graph of a deep-sea expedition survey conducted aboard CHAIN (#17) dated 5/6/1961, showing a graph recorded at a depth of 2230 fathoms.
00:03:58 Diagram illustrating how a sonar ‘pinger’ device (designed by Edgerton) is used to track the location of a submerged camera being towed by a ship.
00:04:01 Bradford W. Luther makes markings on a map of the coast of Massachusetts relating to the Vineyard Lightship wreck search project.
00:04:16 Luther pours liquid (gasoline?) on board a small motorboat.
00:04:22 Film clips of boats on a river, including a floating barge, a motorboat and Navy ships Intrepid and Preserver. Filmed from the dock.
00:05:05 Two men in uniform converse on a dock next to the ship Preserver.
00:05:11 The Preserver is untied from the dock and begins to move away.
00:05:33 The two officers continue their discussion.
00:05:41 The Preserver leaves the dock area.
00:05:52 A fishing boat (?) moored to a wooden dock.
00:05:57 Two men, one with a moustache and a pipe, work on some equipment on board a boat.
00:06:02 Several views of a military ship and TRIESTE bathyscaphe (white and red vessel) filmed from aboard a boat that is motoring around them.
00:06:35 Close-up view of the TRIESTE bathyscaphe.
00:06:49 Two men lower an underwater sonar probe into the water from the side of a boat.
00:07:00 Harold Edgerton (left) and another man work with sonar recording equipment on board the boat.
00:07:05 Cylindrical instruments (likely deep-sea cameras?) lined up on the deck of the TRIESTE; an officer and another man stand by the vessel’s ‘sail’. A sonar instrument attached to the vessel’s side (yellow and black) can be identified. As the cameraman’s boat moves around the TRIESTE there are more views of the stern with several cylindrical instruments on the deck, and men at the stern.
00:07:20 Divers in and out of the water next to the TRIESTE.
00:07:30 Officers watch while crew members move underwater equipment (cameras?) off board the TRIESTE.
00:07:37 A detail of sonar boomer equipment on board TRIESTE.
00:07:45 A man monitors a sonar recorder on board.
00:07:52 A man raises an underwater (sonar?) instrument out of the water onto TRIESTE.
00:08:12 A sonar instrument attached to the side of the TRIESTE is shown, filmed from another vessel.
00:08:22 The MIT Sailing Pavilion on the Charles River; camera pans from a view looking west towards Harvard Bridge, across to the southern (Boston) bank of the river.
00:08:34 Sonar equipment arranged on the dock of the MIT Sailing Pavilion next to a motorboat named QUEEN (Harold Edgerton’s boat?).
00:08:40 Close-up scan of sonar recording equipment, weights, lines, floats and other devices arranged on the dock.
00:09:01 View across the Charles River to Boston and moored sailboats.
00:09:12 Moored ships (one named W33).
00:09:18 The shoreline of Boston harbor (looking at the Customs House).
00:09:25 A large dredging barge.
00:09:31 Four men cross Memorial Drive towards the MIT Sailing Pavilion, holding underwater equipment: two orange and black spheres (buoys).
00:09:40 A spherical buoy with a probe attached to it by a cable is lowered into the Charles River from the sailing pavilion dock.
00:09:47 A boat with a sonar boomer attached to the bow side motors out into the harbor.
00:09:51 Several men assist in lowering the sonar boomer into the water.
00:10:02 View of a dredging boat at work, and other ships on the water.
00:10:11 The sonar data recorder prints out a sonar graph; it appears to be a side-scan sonar record. A person points out particular details on the graph.
00:10:18 A harbor lighthouse.
00:10:25 A man with multiple cameras around his neck clambers on board the TRIESTE and takes pictures while a crew member assists a diver surfacing alongside the vessel.
00:10:51 A diver on board TRIESTE; another diver climbs up the side. The diver crosses a walkway off TRIESTE.
00:11:09 A large sand ‘feeder’ is swung over with a crane to the deck of TRIESTE.
00:11:26 A diver in the water next to TRIESTE.
00:11:33 Crew members maneuver and monitor sand ‘feeder’ used to fill ballast on board TRIESTE. Detail of the sand sieve. The ‘feeder’ is lifted away from the vessel and back to the dock.
00:12:12 Men on the deck of TRIESTE stand by the vessel ‘sail’.
00:12:17 Sand bags on the deck of TRIESTE.
00:12:24 Divers jump off of TRIESTE’s walkway into the water.
00:12:39 Film ends.
00:12:41 © 2010 MIT credits.

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