Segments in this Video

Introduction: Rural Electrification in Ohio: Historic REA Films, 1940–1940—Electrification Comes to the Farm (02:19)


Written text orients the viewer to the following three historic documentaries featuring the Parkinson family and rural electrification in Ohio.

Credits: Power and the Land (00:48)

Credits: Power and the Land

Prologue (00:49)

Rural electrification is explained. Thousands of farming families rely on kerosene lanterns and iron stoves for light and cooking.

Farm Lacks Modern Conveniences (03:16)

Bill Parkinson begins his long day by feeding and milking cows at dawn by the light of a kerosene lantern. Mrs. Parkinson pumps water by hand and lights up the iron stove for cooking.

Cooling Milk Without Electricity (02:11)

The Parkinson's live on a 205-acre farm that has been in the family since 1889. They rely on their dairy business for income.

Sour Milk Rejected (02:27)

Without a modern cooling system, some of the Parkinson's milk has failed to meet current dairy standards.

Electricity for Farms Not Profitable (02:53)

Viewers see the Parkinsons plowing the field with horses and doing the laundry by hand. Seventy five percent of American farms operate without electricity.

Hard Labor of Farming (04:07)

Viewers see the Parkinsons pitching hay, working in the cornfield and hanging the wash without the benefit of modern tools.

Working by Kerosene Lamp Light (04:06)

After the Parkinsons have dinner there is still homework and tool sharpening to be done with the help of dim light from kerosene lamps.

Farmers Ponder Government Offer of Power (03:12)

After a hard afternoon of cutting corn, men gather to discuss the benefits of electricity and learning more about getting it.

Meeting With County Agent (02:35)

Farmers gather to learn about the Rural Electrification program. Learn the number of properties that joined the program between 1935 and 1940.

Belmont Electric Cooperative (03:40)

See the Parkinsons as they put all of their new electrical appliances to work: oven, lights, radio and more.

Farm Work Made Easier (05:05)

With electrical power, getting water to animals is easier and quicker, milk can be kept cool, laundry is less difficult and more.

Credits: Bip Goes to Town (00:34)

Credits: Bip Goes to Town

Modern Dairy Farm (03:38)

Bip Parkinson goes into town and visits a dairy farm that has electricity and cows are milked by machines.

Modern Creamery (02:35)

Bip Parkinson visits a creamery and learns how electricity would benefit his family's farm.

Power for the Parkinsons (02:45)

The Parkinson farm is getting electricity through the REA; only one farm in four has electricity.

Credits: "Worst Farm Disasters" (00:32)

Credits: "Worst Farm Disasters"

Cost of Farm Fires (04:33)

One hundred million dollars in buildings and livestock as well as 3500 lives are lost each year to fires on farms. With only men and buckets to douse the blaze, not all buildings can be saved.

Electricity Reduces Fire Hazards (01:19)

Getting electricity through the REA means safe wiring, electric lights, running water and electric ranges which will help prevent fires.

Credits & Additional Information: Rural Electrification in Ohio: Historic REA Films, 1940–1940—Electrification Comes to the Farm (00:40)

Credits & Additional Information: Rural Electrification in Ohio: Historic REA Films, 1940–1940—Electrification Comes to the Farm

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Rural Electrification in Ohio: Historic REA Films, 1940-1941—Electrification Comes to the Farm

Part of the Series : Electrification Comes to the Farm
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



After a brief introduction, this program presents three documentaries produced in the early 1940s by the USDA’s Rural Electrification Administration (REA). An ambitious collaboration between a government agency and a host of acclaimed entertainment professionals, the films feature the real-life Parkinson family and were made to encourage farmers to take out government loans to modernize their farms. Power and the Land shows the Parkinsons laboring to run a dairy without benefit of electricity before obtaining an REA loan and then gladly giving up their manual water pump, kerosene lanterns, and horse-drawn plow. Along with Bip Goes to Town and Worst of Farm Disasters, the film now offers a close look at the domestic routines of a bygone era while capturing a time when many Americans, for a variety of reasons, were compelled to trade tradition for efficiency. A part of the series Electrification Comes to the Farm. (57 minutes)

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: BVL53082

ISBN: 978-0-81608-804-1

Copyright date: ©2010

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.