Archive for the ‘Industry’ Category

To give you an idea about how old this original copy of American Railroad Journal is, consider that it is one year older than when the B&O reached Harper’s Ferry. Published in New York, it was edited by D.K. Minor.

It contents include:

Suspension Bridges

Hydraulics as a Branch of Engineering

Public Lands


Literary Notices

Foreign Intelligence

Poetry (!)

There is an unusual account of the proper storage for butter that has been salted, yet not intended to be eaten for several months.

The quantity of salt for butter that is not to be eaten for several months after salting, should not be less than half an ounce of salt, mixed with 2 drachms of sugar and two drachms of nitre, to sixteen ounces of butter. The sugar improves the taste, and the nitre gives the butter a better color, while both of them act with the salt in preserving the butter from rancidity.

Miscellaneous news

Temperance Meeting of Mechanics – We were led by the call of a public meeting, published in the papers, and numerously signed by some of our most respectable mechanics, to look in at Chatham-street Chapel last evening, and we know not when and where we have seen a more gratifying spectacle, than was afforded by the gathering there, in such a cause, of more than 2000 persons, most of whom were, we have little doubt, mechanics.

It is to be regretted that the taste for music is not more prevalent in this country. It has a humanizing and gentle influence upon the character of a people, and affords a source of refined and innocent delight which nothing else can supply. A taste for music encourages all the social virtues; it furnishes an amusement which delights without danger, and affords instead of the dull and sating pleasures of dissipation, a source of delight as refined as it is endless. The ladies are particularly interested in this matter. – When a taste for music becomes more general in the other sex, they may depend not only on having more of their company, but having that company rendered more agreeable by the charms of gentleness, refinement and harmony.

It has a great masthead and is in good condition.

1835 American Railroad

This and other original Victorian Era newspapers are available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. Contact us for purchase price and delivery options. In most cases, there is only one copy.

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This Scientific American edition covers the 1900 Paris Exposition. On the front, there are photos of “The Large Palace of Fine Arts,” the “Small Palace of Fine Arts,” the “Moving Platform,” the “Electric Railway and End of Electricity Building,” and the “Street of Nations” on the Bank of the Seine.

1900 SciAm Paris Exposition

There is an article entitled “The Protection of American Game” which talks about The League of American Sportsmen which was formed to create “in every State and Territory a well organized standing army of game protectors, which shall secure the enactment of more stringent general laws, which shall see that lawlessness is punished, which shall discourage game slaughter, and protect the wild creatures that still remain.”

An extensive description of the Paris Exposition starts on page 86, where the publishers discuss the electric railway:

The electric railway is intended to enable visitors to move in an opposite direction to the sliding platform, three cars capable of conveying about two hundred persons forming the train, and electricity is delivered to the motors by means of a third-rail. The trains follow each other at intervals of two minutes. The circuit is completed in about twelve minutes, including stoppages.

Further in the edition, there is an article about Count Zeppelin’s balloon entitled, ”The Ascension of Count Zeppelin’s Airship.”

The second day of July will long be remembered by aeronauts, for on that day occurred the first ascension of the great airship just completed by Count Zeppelin, the cavalry officer of Wurtemberg, who has so long been superintending the construction of his balloon in a huge floating house on Lake Constance, a site admirably adapted for work of this kind, as it offers ample space and in case of accident the results are likely to be much less disastrous than on land. … The Zeppelin airship belongs to the class of so-called aerostatic balloons or dirigible airships which hold a middle ground between the purely dynamic flying machines and the manually-operated devices, resembling in this respect what are known as “balloon flying machines;” that is, those airships in which hydrogen is used only for keeping the apparatus suspended, which the mechanical power is employed for driving and steering it.

There are some wonderful engravings which accompany this article.


In addition, the ads on the back page are noteworthy and interesting. Here are some examples of competition in the early automobile industry – hydrocarbon system for the Winton Motor Carriage and steam for the Standard Model Steam Carriage.

Winton Motor Carriage


“For Your Wife’s Sake be in the social swim and get the best of the modern conveyances a Winton Motor Carriage. No horse or coachman required. No danger, no hard work. $1,200.”



The Standard Model – Steam Carriage

“Extra large boiler and engine. We do away with torch, and light with direct burner, furnish a supplementary water pump, also coil water heater from exhaust steam.”1900 SciAm For Your Wife's Sake

Have your own automobile design? Contact the “Automobile Patents Exploitation Company” which undertakes “The manufacture of Automobiles and Motor-Cycles. The examination of Automobile patents. To enlist capital for the development of inventions.”

This and other original Victorian Era newspapers are available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. Contact us for purchase price and delivery options.

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Steam at Harper’s Ferry catch phrases, “Steam’s Got Tech” and “Technology in Art” since 2011, are not just slogans. They represent goals that the gallery takes seriously. The steampunk genre encapsulates so many aspects of art and design, engineering and science that a steampunk gallery in Harper’s Ferry was perfect! Not only is it a Victorian town, but it has a steam-powered history. From the steam gun to power plants.

On August 15 at the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library, Steam at Harper’s Ferry introduced a new postcard series celebrating Jefferson County inventors. Only one lived her entire life in Jefferson County – Estelle May Peach Koonce Black. The other two, Royal Emerson Whitman and John Harris Hall were born elsewhere, but made their own history Jefferson County. All three held patents!

John Harris Hall Steam's Got Tech Royal Emerson Whitman Steam's Got Tech Estelle Black Steam's Got Tech

Steam at Harper’s Ferry also supports the S.T.E.M. to S.T.E.A.M. movement (I knew there as a reason why I love Scientific American). While science, technology, engineering and math are important education subjects, the arts are just as important. Integrating the arts in to S.T.E.M. is critical to economic and cultural growth.

To learn more about S.T.E.M. to S.T.E.A.M., click here.

The postcards are available for purchase at $1.25 each plus shipping. Please contact Steam at Harper’s Ferry directly if you would like to purchase them online. Thank you.






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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.


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Call to Artists – Exhibit “Travels in Time” – Submissions due September 3

Steam at Harper’s Ferry announces a call to all artists to submit work for selection for its next exhibit “Travels in Time” in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia September 21 – November 17, 2013. Artists are requested to submit work related to the H.G. Wells book, “The Time Machine,” ideally with a steampunk twist, by September 3, 2013. Artists may submit up to 3 works for selection. There will be a $30 administration and promotion fee if selected.

Around the World – June 29 – August 25, 2013 – FINAL WEEKS!

The “Around the World” exhibit opened on June 29 and continues through August 25. This exhibit features the work of John Hoffmaster (illustration, “Still Waters”); Leigh Anne Cassell (illustration, “Legs that Can Can”); and Jason Edwards (painting, “Captain Tomorrow” and “Captain Tomorrow gives chase in his red balloon”).


What’s New at Steam

Cynthia Gayton will be making a steampunk in literature presentation at the Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Public Library on August 15 at 6 pm. In addition to discussing steampunk-themed books available at the library and elsewhere, she will talk briefly about Victorian-era inventors from Harper’s Ferry. The library, in its awesomeness, will have refreshments! Steam will also have a few 3D art pieces on display.

Steam has released another publication under its SciFi/Steampunk imprint, Steam at Harper’s Ferry Press, entitled “Guide to Creating and Protecting Fictional Characters.” This Guide, as well as the story “Of Steam and Spring” are available for sale at the Gallery as well as at Amazon.com in a Kindle version.

Artomatic in Jefferson County – October 2013 – REGISTRATION CLOSES AUGUST 12!

Artist registration for Artomatic@Jefferson began on June and ends August 12. Registration fees may be waived if you are a full-time student. Student registration has been extended to September.  Contact Cynthia if you have an idea for an art demonstration or artist-focused education program. Please see their website for details: http://artomaticjefferson.com/.

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What do you think?


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I’m always learnin’ somethin” here …

  1. The Strasburg Rail Road Company was responsible for restoring the William Mason for the movie, “Wild, Wild West” AND there may be a steampunk-related event in the near future!!!
  2. There is a place called The Kitchen Kettle Village in Pennsylvania

  3. That steampunk computer mod enthusiasts are alive and well, and

  4. Taking photographs of Harper’s Ferry enveloped in fog is hard.

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I had a great time talking with people who road the MARC train between Brunswick and Harper’s Ferry. I finally found the book I was looking for all weekend to confirm some alleged Brunswick “facts” I imparted on the public. Here are a few of them:

Did you know that –

Brunswick was named Berlin at the time the B&O built a depot there?

Between Point of Rocks and Harper’s Ferry there were only two small towns: Berlin and Knoxville?

In 1832, Harper’s Ferry was a city of about 3,000 inhabitants?

In 1834, B&O began railroad service to Harper’s Ferry?

By 1859, there were two passenger trains a day between Baltimore and Wheeling named the Wheeling Express, running at a speed of between 30 and 35 mph?

All this and more can be found in the book “The Railroad Came – and a Special Community Grew in Brunswick, Md.” by Peter Maynard published in 2008.  It is an interesting little book which reads more like a journal and provides some delightful insight to the special relationship between the Harper’s Ferry and Brunswick.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!



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We’ve got a pretty nice poster for the Steampunk Leisure exhibit starting on September 22, if I do say so myself.

Poster created by T. Jason Edwards, Steam at Harper’s Ferry Resident Artist

I know you’re getting ready to ask “Where did this AWESOME image come from?”

This image is from a collection of illustrations entitled “The Growth of Industrial Art” prepared for Cincinnati Industrial Exposition, Cincinnati, Ohio. The person responsible for getting this material together was Benjamin Butterworth, who was not only a Representative from Ohio, but served as the Commissioner of Patents from 1896 until his death on January 16, 1898.  He was also a Regent for the Smithsonian Institute from 1890 – 1891.

This particular illustration is based on a patent awarded to G. W. Pressey in October 1880. The bicycle was called “The American Star.”

Velocipede – Pressey Patent

Submissions for the exhibit are due tomorrow, September 7, 2012.

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One of the more “action-packed” Scientific American editions is dated June 26, 1909. On the cover is a comparison of the “Zeppelin II” with the battleship “Louisiana” and a photo of the Metropolitan Tower in New York City. Today it is a little slow at the gallery, so I took some time to read the contents.

In this edition, there was a correction to a previous statement:

“We recently made the statement that there was no spectroscopic evidence of water vapor on Mars. We are informed by the secretary of Lowell Observatory that not only has the presence of water vapor in the atmospher of Mars been spectroscopically detected by Mr. Slipher at Flagstaff, but that it has been photographed and the amount of water measured by Prof. Very.”

How about signaling to Mars? There are many suggestions, including a “black cloth laid in a pattern on a wide plain.” What is remarkable about correspondence with Scientific American is the presumption that there are indeed sentient beings on the planet. For example, if there were a pattern of black cloth on a plain, one writer explains that it would not be possible: “Hence a Martian will look at the dark side of the earth, and only see its blackness.”  Also, I didn’t know that a heliotrope could be “used to transmit signals or messages” anywhere, much less to Mars. John Ford dismisses the possibility: “Now, if you project a signal in a straight line from the observatory at Washington to an observatory in a great city on Mars (!), using the point where you see mars as the point of direction, where would your signal or message be when it has traveled a distance from the earth to Mars?”  Indeed it is “a well-known fact that the stars are not where we see them.”

Maybe the Curiosity can put all of these questions to rest.

Heliotrope is also a color and the name of a flower. And what does Scientific American have to say about colors? Well, Louis Prang, who came to be known as the father of the American Christmas card, who died while on his way to the Seattle Exposition, devoted more than forty years to the creation of standard colors.

The first time that people in the vicinity of New York City witnessed “real flights by an aeroplane” was scheduled for June 26. There was an exhibition sponsored by the Aeronautic Society at Morris Park where there would be a baloon race and a flight by the society’s dirigible. Two bi-planes (one of which was flown by Glenn H. Curtiss for the Scientific American trophy) and a monoplane were exhibited.

“The Non-Man-Killing Aeroplane of the Future Will Be Created from Our Crushed Bodies” Ralph Johnstone

The Wright Brothers also made this edition. Dayton, Ohio held a celebration, including a parade, honoring the development of transporation in America. The Wright Brothers were awarded medals by Congress and the city of Dayton.

In the Wright Brother’s article, there were sentiments that in some respects, reflected my thoughts about innovation when so many are discouraged about funding shortfalls. Scientific American paraphrased Wilbur Wright’s speech in this way:  “Although inventors sometimes complain of lack of sympathy and encouragement, he and his brother had not found it so, for at the very beginning of their experiments they had received offers of financial assistance from people who had nothing to gain. In his opinion, if worthy inventors did not get assistance it was because their needs were not known and not because of indifference.”

Here is a transcription of the speech:

“It is sometimes said that inventors receive little encouragement in the early stages of their work.We have very little complaint to offer on this score.  During our first trials we received offers of help from all quarters. Just because we didn’t find it necessary to accept the proffers of help is no reason why it did not show that the world is full of sympathy and willing to come forth to encourage whatever is right and useful. Even today if $1,000,000 could secure another Tennyson or Shakespeare, the money would be forthcoming. The trouble is not due to the heart of the world, but rather to the machinery, which it is necessary to first put in operation.”

All was not sweetness and light, however. The above mentioned Curtiss and the Wright Brothers were involved in a protracted lawsuit where the Wright Brothers claimed that Curtiss had infringed on their  patents US821393 US1075533. The dispute wasn’t settled until 1914, when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found in the Wrights’ favor.

What are your plans and dreams? Come talk about them at Steam at Harper’s Ferry! Who knows where they will lead.

Original Victorian-era Scientific American magazines, including this edition, may be purchased at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

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