top of page

Video 18th Century Life in Colonial Williamsburg

This 1966 film takes a look at a day in the life in Colonial Williamsburg in the 18th century presented by Eastman Kodak Company and Colonial Williamsburg Inc. (:11). A note appears which informs viewers that the homes, shops, streets and public buildings of colonial Williamsburg had been restored due to the generosity of John D. Rockefeller Jr. (:19). It begins with a master wood maker; Christopher Kendall, at his shop (1:08) as well as his son Tom and other journeymen and apprentices. Tom is shown around the shop on his first day of apprenticeship which may lead into him becoming a master of the craft and establishing his own business (1:33). The master is in charge of management, casting accounts and designing the furniture produced in his shop (2:00). Journeymen are workers who have completed their apprenticeship and are free to seek employment (2:14). ‘The Gentlemen and Cabinet Makers Director’ by Thomas Chippendale is shown (2:39) as colonial wood workers were often influenced by the English. In the Middle Ages in England, craftsmen were a part of guilds for mutual protection consisting of masters and apprentices (2:46). By the 18th century the power of the guild had declined (3:04). The legal relation between apprentice and masters however, continued and Tom is assigned to a journeyman to learn his craft (3:24). He is shown the common tools of the trade including the bench clamp and saw (3:29). Wood makers played a major role in the development of the modern world as many products such as the cart wheel and the water wheel were initially made from wood (4:25). The governor’s secretary sharpens his quill with a pen knife in order to take diction in the office of the Royal Governor (5:55). The Royal Governor was the King’s representative in the Virginia Colony playing a major role in shaping the laws (6:05). The Governor’s wife; the head of women’s fashion in the area, combs her hair with a Spanish comb carved from a tortoise shell (6:21). The pair mirror a miniature court of the King and Queen in England (6:40). Weapons were hung about the house as decoration and also for use in the event of emergency (7:14). The gilded crown in pointed to (7:32) sitting atop the cupola of the Governor’s residence. The front gate was designed to be easily defended (8:05). Coaches were built high from the ground and included pull out stairs as the roads were unpaved and often muddy (8:18). The coachmen remained seated while the footmen opened and closed the doors and set the stairs out and replaced them after passengers were inside (8:37). The pair heads to Christopher Kendall’s shop to pick up a desk while the workers head outside for the event (8:52). A piece of the desk had been made removable to allow access to a hidden compartment containing drawers for valuables (9:56). There were no safety deposit boxes at the time and many pieces of furniture were built in such a way to hide valuables (10:11). A cart with oxen hauls the desk to the Governor’s residence (11:05). The blacksmith shop (12:51) which served as important service stations. Horses were shod here by farriers (13:00). Skill was passed down through apprenticeships (13:28). An apprentice operates the giant leather bellows that kept fires going (13:34). Blacksmiths created much of the tools needed for other crafts (14:01). A horseshoe is pulled from the fire (14:12) and is forged between hammer and anvil (14:17). The hot shoe is set on the hoof, smoothing out irregularities prior to taking it back inside the shop to be cooled (15:08). The tavern is the informal center of community life and was named after Sir Walter Raleigh (15:52). The post rider arrived at various times and created excitement as he was the only connection to the outside world (17:13). The public jail follows (17:45) with prisoners in the stocks and the pillory (17:55). Imprisoned debtors were often trapped as they were without means to make money to repay their debts (18:21). Jailers were provided with a fixed sum to feed prisoners though many took advantage of the system allowing prisoners to starve (18:47). A harpsichord inside Christopher Kendall’s home (19:21). Christopher reads a copy of the weekly gazette (20:12). The mother sits before a spinning wheel (20:38) and the children are sent to bed (20:55). Christopher lights a tobacco pipe (21:24). Tobacco was also used as a form of currency. The grandmother works on a loom (21:43) as Christopher heads out to have a chat with the lamplighter (22:14). This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit

74 views0 comments


Obtuvo 0 de 5 estrellas.
Aún no hay calificaciones

Agrega una calificación
bottom of page