Preserving Electric City history

Hunter said the museum is in the process of ordering the film transfer equipment, which costs more than $10,000, and should be arriving by the end of October. Films will be made available over the Internet, but the video sharing website, such as YouTube, Vimeo and Hulu, hasn't been determined yet.

Making sure the original copies survive as long as possible is also important to the museum, said Hunter.

Many GE films are still in their original canisters, some of which are rusting, but the lack of ventilation also presents a problem. If the film canister doesn't have air vents, then the gas from the degrading film builds up in the canister and degrades the film at an accelerated rate. When new canisters are purchased, they will be resistant to acid and will allow for ventilation.

The long-term plan, said Hunter, is to build a cold storage vault for the films to provide the best preservation.

"They might last a hundred years in room temperature, but they might last thousands of years in 40 degrees," said Hunter.

Fourteen of the films from 1915 to 1961 are already available on Time Warner Cable's Local On Demand on Channel 1009.

Some highlights from these films include Edison's visit to Schenectady in 1922, which also includes the only known footage of Steinmetz, a film tour of the GE Schenectady Works in 1939, Nobel Prize winning scientist Langmuir giving a demonstration and a 1961 promotional film for Schenectady County.""

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