Cable Car Ride Down Market Street — 1905

A camera mounted to the front of cable car records a 5 mph ride down Market Street toward the Embarcadero in San Francisco in 1905 (The Niles Film Museum in Niles, California places the date of this film at April 14, 1906, just four days before the earthquake). Much of what you see in the film was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire. A soundtrack has been added.

It appears there were no traffic rules. Early automobiles drive anywhere they want, cars, horse drawn wagons, and pedestrians are all on their own trajectory. A classic example of Hayek’s spontaneous order; there are no crashes. There is a cop on the beat, but he doesn’t seem to be concerned about everyone going in all directions.

Note that some of the automobiles are left-hand drive and some are right-hand drive. It hadn’t been decided yet which side of the street we were going to drive on. A longer version of this film can be viewed here.

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