Rehabbing the Hudson Valley’s First Suspension Bridge


Wednesday, June 7, 2023 Time:  6-7pm

Join us to hear from engineer Blaise Blabac, who is involved in preserving a Roebling suspension bridge in Kingston, NY.

Blaise will tell us about the big project to polish this hidden gem– with a new deck, guide rails, sidewalks, railings, and suspender cables, it is getting more than just a makeov

Register here:

High Water: An Informal History of Flooding in Philadelphia

a lecture by Adam Levine

When a city is built along a river—and Philadelphia is wedged between two, the Schuylkill and the Delaware—floods are an inevitable occurrence, with sometimes tragic consequences. In this illustrated talk, environmental historian Adam Levine will talk about some of the worst floods ever to hit Philadelphia, beginning in the early 1800s and ending up with Hurricane Ida in 2021. He will also discuss the causes of different types of flooding that occur in urban areas, and what we can do to help mitigate future floods.

Levine has been delving into the history of Philadelphia’s rivers, streams, and water supply and drainage systems since 1998, as a consultant to the Philadelphia Water Department and as webmaster of His talks are always illuminating, and this one will include rarely-seen pictures, maps, and stories that he has uncovered in his years 25 years of research.

Adam Levine’s presentation kicks off SUBMERGED: A Changing Global Climate a special exhibition theme centered on flooding and Global Climate Change. The exhibition is directed by Karen Young for the Fairmount Water Works and curated by Thom Duffy. The exhibition’s purpose is to bring focus to historic and current extreme weather events impacting our region and the Planet’s struggle for survival. The show opens on EARTH DAY! Saturday, April 22, 2023 and closes July 29, 2023

The exhibition is brought to you in part by Fund for the Water Works and the Ed F. Grusheski Water Literacy Foundation.

VENUE: Venice Island
ADDRESS: 7 Lock Street, Phila., PA 19127

There are two entrances to Venice Island, which is parallel to Main Street in Manayunk. One entrance is at Lock St. and Main Street and another entrance is at Cotton St. and Main Street. Kiosk parking is available on the island.

DATE: Tuesday April 18, 2023

The event is free but registration is required:


Oat Foundry, makers of Split Flap Displays

Society for Industrial Archeology

Oliver Evans Chapter


a Tour of Oat Foundry

DATE: Thursday, April 20, 2023                                                                        

Oat Foundry began in 2013 with a team of six Drexel Engineers on a mission to build cool stuff. They spent their early days prototyping and building a range of products from furniture for coffee shops to soft pretzel vending machines. In 2015 they were presented with the task to build a Split Flap Display that used modern technology while maintaining old-school functionality – and kept on building them.

 Oat Foundry prides themselves in maintaining the high-quality materials and engineering of the Solari split-flap boards that once hung in many train stations and airports. They hand build all boards in-house to order and source materials as locally as possible. Oat Foundry boards are used in offices and headquarters, entertainment, retail, restaurants, transportation centers (though currently not as arrival/departure boards) and more.

For more information and examples of their products visit:

To register for the tour or get more information contact Reese Davis at 610-692-4456 or e-mail at

Steamboats on the Upper Delaware River

Tuesday, March 21st at 7:00 pm

a Zoom presentation

A Virtual Illustrated Presentation By Paul W. Schopp

A Delaware River Heritage Lecture Sponsored by the Delaware River Greenway Partnership (DRGP)

Please click here to register at the DRGP’s website.

The Upper Delaware River, extending from Market Street, Philadelphia, to the head of navigation at Trenton, once hosted a lively steamboat trade beginning with John Fitch’s experimental boats. Paul Schopp’s presentation will briefly cover the history of steamboats on this section of the river and then take viewers on an imaginary excursion up the Delaware from Philadelphia using rare postcard images and artwork, advertising, and period photographs. Viewers will learn about some of the ferry services offered to the traveling public as well as examine steam traffic on tributaries like the Pennsauken and Rancocas creeks. Riverfront amusement parks will be included in the presentation as well as some of the freight wharves and piers. Viewers will meet some of the masters who skippered the steamers. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the end of steamboat service and what happened to the last few boats.

Rich Wagner Beer History Tour

Fairmount Park Conservancy presents

Trails to Ales

Saturday, March 18, 2023

1:00pm – 4:00pm

Mount Pleasant Mansion
3800 Mt Pleasant Dr
Philadelphia, 19121

Join beer historian Rich Wagner for a history of brewing and beer gardens on a hiking tour of East Fairmount Park.

As the name of the Brewerytown neighborhood that borders East Park indicates, Philadelphia was a beer brewing town. In fact, in the late 19th century, with over 30 breweries, we were the brewing capital of America! Before the city created the park, the banks of the Schuylkill River were valuable to emerging breweries for the harvesting and storage of ice and the cold storage of lager beer in underground vaults. Also, after acquiring several historic houses with the establishment of Fairmount Park, the city sought ways to re-adapt them and the properties were leased as beer gardens enjoyed by a growing German population. The hike will discuss this and many other intoxicating aspects of beer history in Fairmount Park.

Check this link for a much fuller description of the day’s events and information on how to join the group. There is a pay what you can ticket for the tour.

Rich is sharing this article on the Engel and Wolf’s Brewery.

Typewriters, Typewriters, Typewriters II

Oliver Evans Chapter

presents a tour

Philly Typewriter

Date: March 11, 2023
Time: 11am
Location: 1735 East Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia PA 19148, between Morris St and Moore St.

Bryan Kravitz is passionate about typewriters. He has established a workshop with machines and tools for restoring them. As he puts it on his website,

“We work simultaneously as engineers and historians to perform comprehensive typewriter restorations. From specialized deep cleaning to custom fabrication of rubber pieces, we take special care to remedy the problems that come from these elegant machines sitting idle for decades…

Our goal is for you to take home a fully functional piece of history.”

Bryan is so committed to preserving a connection to these instruments that he has established the Philadelphia Public Typewriter Program.

He states,“The typewriter was designed and built during a golden age of manufacturing and industry where pride of workmanship and quality was expected.  People who use typewriters today say that it helps slow down their thought process and provides a connection that is lost in our fast-paced world.  But, fully functional typewriters can be hard to come by.

So, Philly Typewriter has committed to placing vintage, rare, fully working typewriters in hundreds of locations in the Philadelphia area.  It will be a way for people of all generations and diverse communities to connect with typewriters and the non-digital, elegant world they represent.”

Bryan has invited us to learn more about the history of typewriters and their place in his world.

“Come visit our two thousand square foot location in South Philadelphia and see our workshop, meet our apprentices learning the trade, sign-up for a repair class or take in our exhibits and writers’ lounge.”

Here’s a link to Bryan’s comprehensive web site:

Join the members for a snack or meal afterwards. 

Please rsvp to Reese Davis if you will joining the tour:

Save the Date

On Thursday, April 20 at 11 AM  the chapter will be visiting  the Oat Foundry at the Frankford Arsenal.  The foundry makes announcement boards with a technology similar to that displayed on the 30th Street Station train schedule board, recently retired.  On the tour we will learn the history of the company, their experience with the Split Flap boards, and we will see how they are made.

Can Easter be Far Behind?

Zitner’s, the Philadelphia candy company known for their signature chocolate-covered eggs, turns 100 this year, and it’s still churning out ovoidal confections filled with coconut, buttercream, peanut butter, and its signature “Butter Krak” concoction.

The local treats were born when a couple, Sam and Anne Zitner, began making and selling candy eggs at their home in the 1920s, before operationalizing their business a few years later. The business isn’t in the family anymore, but it’s been based out of the same North Philadelphia factory for around 80 years, according to current owner Evan Prochniak.

Article in Billy Penn at NPR newsletter post
by Asha Prihar
April 15, 2022

Oliver Evans chapter members toured the Zitner Factory in 2002.

Typewriters, Typewriters, Typewriters

Bryan Kravitz, a friend of Joel Spivak’s,  is passionate about typewriters. He has established a workshop with machines and tools for restoring them. Shortly you will see a notice here about a tour of his workshop on March 11, 2023.

Bryan was tapped by the Literature Department at Parkway Central Library to present an 8 part series entitled “The Typewriter in the Workplace.”
Unfortunately, unknown to us, the first program was presented in November. Here is the information on the program and the schedule for the rest of the series.

Join the Literature Department and Philly Typewriter for this 8-part typewriter series. Bryan Kravitz will share applications of the typewriter and how the machine changed industries for women, the railroad and more.
The program will take place onsite in the Heim Center. You must enter through the Wood Street entrance at the back of the library. There is usually metered street parking around the library and a paid parking lot at back with the entrance on Callowhill Street. This program is free. 

Please register at 

From the 19th-century prototypes to the IBM Selectric, Philly Typewriter specializes in the restoration and preservation of typewriters. Our focus is to mechanically restore each machine using our fifty years of experience while performing museum-level aesthetic restorations. Every typewriter is backed by our two-year warranty and annual tune-up service programs for home and business. We are the founders of The Philadelphia Public Typewriter Program, which places typewriters throughout our community into schools, libraries, bookstores and many locations free of charge, enabling people to once again have access to these mechanical marvels. Come visit our two thousand square foot location in South Philadelphia and see our workshop, meet our apprentices learning the trade, sign-up for a repair class or take in our exhibits and writers’ lounge. Whether you’re searching for a place to bring your typewriter back to life or looking to buy your first machine, we are proud to say that you needn’t look any further than Philly Typewriter.

Wed, February 15, 2023 5:30 p.m.
The Typewriter in the Workplace
Bryan Kravitz will share applications of the typewriter and how the machine changed industries for women, the railroad and more.

Wed, March 15, 2023 5:30 p.m.
Innovations & Standardization of the Typewriter
Bryan Kravitz will discuss the QWERTY keyboard to Magic Margins, a look at the evolution of the Typewriter & its functional staying power.

Wed, April 19, 2023 5:30 p.m.
The Personal life of the Typewriter
Exploring how the Typewriter found its home in the lives of artists, musicians and in our homes.

Wed, May 17, 2023 5:30 p.m.
IBM & The Rise of the Selectric
Learn how IBM and their “Mechanical Computer” became the secretarial standard.

Wed, June 21, 2023 5:30 p.m.
The Typewriter Revolution of Today
Bryan Kravitz will share why the Typewriter is experiencing it’s Renaissance, and the figures who are leading the charge.

Wed, August 16, 2023 5:30 p.m.
Philly Typewriter: The Age of Restoration & Preservation
Bryan Kravitz discusses the organization, Philly Typewriter, and how they are helping lead the world in the resurgence of the mechanical typewriter.

Finding Conshohocken

UPCOMING TALK by Ned Drinker, local Navigator:

DESCRIPTION: “Finding Conshohocken” is a two-hour slide show exploration of the history of Conshohocken from William Penn to the present including the Schuylkill Navigation, iron and steel, J Ellwood Lee, Woodmont and redevelopment.

WHEN: Monday, January 30th 5:30 – 7:30 PM

WHERE: Conshohocken Free Library, Community Room (downstairs), 301 Fayette St, Conshohocken, PA, 19428

Parking is on the street. However, the PNC bank lot behind the library may be available after bank hours.

In Person FREE!


Oliver Evans Society for Industrial Archeology



Saturday, January 28, 2023, 10:00 a.m. to noon 
West Chester University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology
775 S Church Street, West Chester, PA 19383 

In partnership with the Global Philadelphia Association, this special exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention by exploring the rich heritage of Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and its famed Liberty Bell was one of the U.S.’ first World Heritage sites, deemed to be of universal human value for its importance in the creation of the world’s first Enlightenment-era Republic. However, the exhibition delves beyond this colonial narrative to show that Philadelphia’s global heritage is the result of continuous interactions of diverse communities over time. 

With rare artifacts on loan from the National Parks Service, Lest We Forget Museum, Landis Valley Museum, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, among others; and original works by numerous Philadelphia-based artists such as Diane Keller, Ana Vizcarra Rankin, Salome Cosmique and Sue Chen, Beyond the Bell’s exhibits on labor, immigration, transportation, fashion and arts, festivals, sports and pop culture reveal the richness and global importance of the “City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love.” 

Also on view is Earth Day at 50: Lessons for a Sustainable Future. 

The museum is housed in the Old Library Building.  Enter through the main front door on Church Street. Please note that there are stairs you will need to walk up to get to the building; unfortunately it’s a historic building (on the National Historic Register) and stairs are the only way to get into the building.  

There is ample metered street parking in front of the building on Church Street.  Note: this is a one-way street that leads to Rosedale Avenue.  Payment is required on all days except Sundays through a municipal kiosk, which accepts credit cards. Free parking is available in Lot K located behind the Sykes Student Union, off Rosedale Avenue. On weekends you may park without a permit in any student-designated space.

Reservations: Call Reese Davis at 610-692-4456 or e-mail at

For those who wish to, we could gather to have lunch in downtown West Chester after the tour.

Here is a map of the campus and parking locations: