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 The article below has been recreated to look as much as it did when published as possible.  The text, unchanged, was rekeyed and the photos remastered from the only copy we were able to obtain.  
A Motion Picture Producer for Microbes
Sunset Magazine - April 1927
making pictures of the beauty spots of the Golden State. He made many hundreds of them, probably the largest collection of photographs of any one state ever made by one man. Thousands of prints from these pictures have been published in magazines and newspapers from Nome to Buenos Ares and admitted from Timbuktu to Beersheba. He learned photography until making good pictures came to be to him like breathing to the ordinary man.
  Today he is making the smallest motion pictures in the world –and also, proportionally, the largest. He makes minute members of the vegetable and animal kingdoms, from pollen grains to bacteria, perform for the screen. He gathers his actors, selects his cases, writes their plays, directs the show, serves as cameraman, acts as his own censor and, finally, enlarges the pictures until the tiny “bug’ that gives us some communicable disease looks like a football flying through the air. On a glass stage not more than two inches long by half an inch wide he assembles thousands of these tiniest actors in the world and, while the camera looks through the lense of double microscopes, makes the deadly germs "do their stuff."  With out doubt he could if he would, wettle once and for all the ancient arg-
A Motion Picture Director 
of Microbes
OME years ago, when the rest of the world began to realize that California is a truly wonderful place in which to live, Arthur C. Pillsbury, then a newspaper photographer, started 
ument as to how many angels dance on the point of a needle.
  Seriously, Arthur Pillsbury has made on of the most important bacteriological discoveries of the age.  
  He has enabled the bacteriologist to study at leisure the smallest of life-destroying creatures, either in motion or at rest. Many bacteria move so rapidly that even the best of trained microscopists are unable to follow their motions, draw them clearly, or note their activities. Indeed, with many it is impossible to maintain the eye-strain necessary to observe them in the microscope. One of the greatest obstacles to to the study of communicable diseases has been this inability to become closely acquainted with the germ which caused the particular malady under investigation. But Pillsbury realized that the eye of the camera never grows weary so he combined the two—or rather, three for he put in two microscopes, to give the camera a still better view of the microbes. 
With these two microscopes perfectly synchronized—and therein lies the secret of his discovery—he placed his bacteria actors on a glass slide, played a brilliant spotlight upon them and began to make motion pictures which have proved to be the surprise and delight of the world of scientists and physicians.  
  To begin at the beginning, Pillsbury had been making pictures, both “stills”and motion, of the plant growth and flowers in the Yosemite Valley, where he and Mrs. Pillsbury spend most of their time. While engaged in this work he began to wonder just how the pollen-grain, dropped from the leg of the wandering bee or other insect, did its work of fertilizing the flower. The single grain of pollen is small yet it cannot be seen by the naked eye, yet it travels a distance ranging from a quarter of an inch to nearly an inch down the inside of the stigma of the blossom to reach the ovary which it is to convert into a capsule filled with seeds. It moves hundreds of thousands of times its own length to attain its final resting place, and meet destruction, in the heart of the flower.
   To begin at the beginning, Pillsbury had been making pictures, both “stills”and motion, of the plant growth and flowers in the Yosemite Valley, where he and Mrs. Pillsbury spend most of their time. While engaged in this work he began to wonder just how the pollen-grain, dropped from the leg of the wandering bee or other insect, did its work of fertilizing the flower. The single grain of pollen is small yet it cannot be seen by the naked eye, yet it travels a distance ranging from a quarter of an inch to nearly an inch down the inside of the stigma of the blossom to reach the ovary which it is to convert into a capsule filled with seeds. It moves hundreds of thousands of times its own length to attain its final resting place, and meet destruction, in the heart of the flower.
 At first he photographer attempted to make this picture by splitting the stigma of the sweet pea blossoms, introducing the pollen grains and then photographing the activities of those grains within the actual flower. Owing to lack of contracting colors he was unable to do this but, not discouraged, he placed the pollen grains in the microscope slide and, with microscope sand camera trained on them, injected into the field a fraction of a drop of a fluid which he had made, the chemical duplicate of the liquid in the stigma of the flower. He believed that this fluid was the source of the stimulus for all the activities of the pollen grain. At the very second at which this liquid touched the pollen grains they began to move about, to swell, and finally to project the minute tubes of protoplasm with which the flower is fertilized. There the photographer had before him, on a tiny glass plate, a reproduction of the beginning of life in all plants.

THIS was something never seen before, and the botany department of the University of California became so interested that Pillsbury was invited to conduct his experiments in that department at Berkeley. There he has been, developing and improving the first successful microscopic motion-picture instrument yet devised, and making hundreds of feet of film of bacteria, harmless and harmful, removing all that screen of privacy which for so long has protected the microbe from peering eyes. But while he was still engaged on the pictures of the pollen grain and its life-work he discovered a method whereby he makes visible, in the motion picture, the nucleus, the center of life, in each grain. This, too, never had been seen, either with the microscope or with the naked eye.
  Heretofore, it has been impossible to synchronize microscope and camera to the extent that motion pictures of bacterial life in action could be made, the results always being indistinct and unsatisfactory. Now the picture of the smallest bacteria, moving so rapidly that the human eye is barely able to follow it, may be enlarged 110,000 times and still remain as clear on the screen as it would be were it quiescent beneath the most powerful microscope.
    Not the least of the values of the discovery is that it will enable bacteriologists to study at their leisure the effects of various drugs and bacteriophages on the germs of disease.
    I believe this discovery will be of inestimable value in bacteriology and probably will lead to much greater knowledge of communicable diseases, their cause, prevention and cure.” Said Pillsbury to the writer. Then he added: “This invention is to be dedicated to \educational purposes. I could not think of even attempting to make money out of it. I will not commercialize it.”
   That is the attitude of the Californian who, saying he is not a scientist, yet has made one of the most important contributions to the science of medicine. 
                                                            H. H. Dunn
                                                                                     Interesting Westerners                                                          47