American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, G. W. Bitzer, F. A. Dobson Interior N.Y. Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street 1905

  • Not on view

Two mechanical marvels of the early twentieth century, the New York City subway and the motion picture camera, converge in this four minute film, shot on May 21, 1905, seven months after the subway opened. G. W. Bitzer, the chief cameraman of the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, mounted his camera on the front of one subway train that followed another on the uptown track from Union Square to Grand Central Terminal, with lighting provided by a rig mounted on a train running on the opposite track. The play of light on the support columns creates a strobe effect that edges this documentary material into abstraction.

Gallery label from 2019
35mm film transferred to video (black and white, silent)
4 min. at 18 fps
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1939
Object number
  • American Mutoscope and Biograph Company has 606 works online.
  • G. W. Bitzer has 2 works online.
  • F. A. Dobson has 2 works online.

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].