Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘19th Century’ Category

The Time Machine made by Christopher Loggie for the video series, Steampunk Stacie, draws a lot of attention. But not as much as Alfred Burton’s storefront window in the late 1800s.

Alfred Burton's Watch Repair and Jewelry Shop - Historic Photo Collection - Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

Alfred Burton’s Watch Repair and Jewelry Shop – Historic Photo Collection – Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

Alfred and his three sons, Henry, Warren and William all pursued careers as jewelers and watch repairers in Harper’s Ferry and Charles Town. As you can see in the window, Alfred had quite a watch collection on display. When you come to Harper’s Ferry today, you can see some watches and clocks donated by the family to Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park.

According to the Park’s Historic Furnishings Report for Building 14, Burton Jewelry Store, Alfred displayed several items over the years, at least one of which drew so much attention that the public complained as recorded in the Spirit of Jefferson, November 5, 1878. According to the article, Burton had a

singular sort of mechanical contrivance in his store window, from which [hung] half a dozen watches — some of them old-fashioned family watches, as big and stout as dutchmen, filled with lager beer — some as small as ten cent pieces — like little babies following their fat papas, and this contrivance [kept] continually going round at the same solemn, blind horse rate — no variation, no check, no change of time. … citizens are beginning to complain of this; they say that it is having a bad effect on the brain of people who are obliged to look into the window.

In addition, he owned and displayed Flying Pendulum Clock, patented by Christian Clausen in 1883,

1883 Claussen Patent 286531

 

which was later named the “Ignatz” novelty clock in 1935.

Ignatz was the name of the mouse side-kick of Krazy Kat.

 

Like merchants today, he expanded his business to include all sorts of repair work from medical to musical instruments. He managed property after his retirement and was a locally known beekeeper.

I can’t make any promises about the “Travels in Time” exhibit beginning next month, but I’m pretty sure that it won’t have a bad effect on the brain.

 

Read Full Post »

 

Of Steam and Spring CoverOn Thursday, April 26, 2013, Steam announced the release of the next publication from our Steam at Harper’s Ferry Press imprint, “Of Steam and Spring” by V. Edwards Clarke with illustrations by Kasey Hendricks. Here is an excerpt from the story:

“A full moon rose between the mountains. Its light reflected from the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers at The Point. A crowd gathered on the Hill Top House veranda, bundled in furs, scarves, gloves and hats even though it was early Spring. … The chimes at St. Peter’s Church rang out at midnight, just as the moon completed a triangle above the uneven peaks. … The din started like a train whistle sounding through a tunnel. It grew louder and louder until its clamor blasted forth, powerful enough to awaken the ancient mountains. Lights flickered into being on the newly installed carousel which began to turn. A song began to play on the calliope. Its mournful noise was in sharp contrast to the joyful tunes with which people were familiar who visited the Park.”

There was a full moon on April 26 and for most of this weekend, I spent my time at the Hill Top House overlook handing out maps, flyers and coupons for the Second Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk and heard a train thunder through the tunnel more than a dozen times. But, there is no longer any carousel or calliope. Coincidence?

This story is about an enchantment of the Island Park’s carousel during the lifetime of Hill Top House’s original owner, Thomas Lovett. A Calliope Romance brought to you by Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

Limited physical copies are available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. Please email Steam if you would like a copy mailed to you. An e-book version will be available soon.

Read Full Post »

Being so close to Washington, DC, Steam at Harper’s Ferry is all about power – water and electric power, that is. Phil Berneburg and Eric Holstine’s work at the Gallery span technology in Harper’s Ferry from water power to electricity.

“The Potomac Power Plant was an innovative small hydroelectric facility that operated from 1899 to 1991, originally as part of a wood pulp mill (built 1888), and solely as a power house after a fire in 1925.  Significant extant equipment/machinery in the plant includes a c.1905 Dayton Globe water turbine, and a 1925 Woodward water turbine governor.  The building is also symbolic of industry in Harpers Ferry, as it occupies the site (and possibly the partial foundations) of Harpers Ferry National Armory buildings dating to 1834 and 1853, and contains reused structural materials from various Armory buildings as well as from an 1848 Harpers Ferry cotton mill (later a flour mill).”

Reprinted from Library of Congress records.

In this photograph, you can see a 1925 GE Generator in the foreground and a 1910 generator cover in the background.

Potomac Power Plant 1925 GE Generator (front) 1910 generator (back)

Potomac Power Plant 1925 GE Generator (front) 1910 generator (back)

Where was Tesla? Did he have a hand in the design of this hydroelectric power plant?

Tesla_Electric_Lamp_Patent_in_Crimson_Red

Potomac Power Plant HF

You can see many similar design elements in Phil Berneburg’s work here at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. For example, in his vertical boiler with wood logging, there are valves, rivets and pipes.

IMG_1970 (2)

Phil Berneburg’s Vertical Boiler with Wood Logging

Potomac Power Plant turbine flumes

Potomac Power Plant Third Tailrace

Eric Holstine’s lamps incorporate piping and electrical elements for a unique design.

Holstine - Steampunk Floor Lamp

Eric Holstine’s Steampunk Floor Lamp

Phil Berneburg and Eric Holstine’s work will be on display through April 28. The Big Top Steam Exhibit also closes that day. Come to the Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk and meet these artists!

Read Full Post »

As I prepare for the Second Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Art Walk on April 27 & 28, I reflect on Steam at Harper’s Ferry’s most popular in-house prints. The Steampunk Leisure exhibit (September 22 – November 18, 2012) featuring the art work of Teresa Dunham Cavagnaro and Nancy Kautz, also featured a series of Victorian era velocipedes – in 3D!

Look out for our Steam’s Got Tech postcard series in the Gallery – the second one is shown below.

Unicycle_Number_09_2x3_Web_Card_Cobolt_Blue

The unicycle depicted here represents one of our most popular prints – and you can purchase a print to be delivered directly to your home here.

 

 

Read Full Post »

The Jefferson County Historical Society recently sent out a newsletter featuring patents awarded to Jefferson County inventors. It is a pretty impressive list and I encourage you to check it out.

However, one inventor was missing. Estell (or Estelle) M. Black. Since I own a gallery in Harper’s Ferry’s lower town, I found it quite interesting that a woman who designed a commemorative spoon depicting Jefferson Rock was not included on the list. It was worth investigating.

Estelle May Peach Koonce Black filed for a patent on August 30, 1892. The patent was awarded on October 25, 1892 (remarkable!). The term  for her patent was 3.5 years, which is an unusual length of time.

What was also interesting was that her patent was awarded the same year the Columbian Exhibition started in Chicago. John Brown’s Fort, as readers of this blog will know, was dismantled and brought to the Fair in 1892. It was a big year for Harper’s Ferry and I don’t doubt that Estell Black wanted to take advantage of the attention being paid toward Harper’s Ferry that year.

“To all whom it may concern Be it known that I Estell M Black a citizen of the United States residing at Harper’s Ferry in the county of Jefferson and 5 State of West Virginia have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Designs for Spoons of which the following is a specification…”

 Estell Black spoon
According to the Women Inventors Index, 1790 – 1895, nine  West Virginia women were granted patents, only one of whom was from Jefferson County.
Her full name was Estelle May Peach Koonce Black. She was born in Harper’s Ferry on March 27, 1867 (the year Storer College was opened) and died on January 12, 1942 in Halltown.
Estelle Black death certificate
She is bured at Fairview Lutheran Cemetery.
Steam at Harper’s Ferry sells vintage newspapers, including Scientific American, which have illustrations from the late 1890s. Please come by!

Read Full Post »

What do you think?

Winding_Drum_Steam_Engine_2x3_Web_Card_Darker_Red

Read Full Post »

Trains! It’s almost a year away – but worth getting excited about now!  The “Steampunk unLimited” event is going to be held in November this year.

A juxtaposition of art and invention, creativity and technology while paying homage to the Victorian Era and Industrial Revolution, an unprecedented weekend at the Strasburg Rail Road is announced.  Train rides behind a massive steam locomotive, delicious eats and treats, steampunk handiwork, photo opportunities galore, an insider’s look through a shop tour, music reflective of days gone by, and so much more are just a snippet of the weekend’s events. 

From the Strasburg Rail Road website!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: