National SIA Online Programs

Wednesday, October 20 at 3 p.m. 

Hand gin and condenser. M. Ferguson, engraver. De Bow’s Review, July-August 1867, page 76.

Join the SIA for the 14th session of IA Online Eastern (US & Canada):

David Farrier – “An extant cotton gin from the Albany Agricultural Works”

Jerry Miller – “North Central Ohio Industrial Museum Featuring Inventor of Over 200 Patents, Harry F. Smith of Lexington OH”

Register to join us on Zoom:

Talks are roughly 10-15 minutes each, with 5 minutes of Q&A for each presenter. The end of the session is reserved for additional questions and discussion.

Also, videos of past IA Online presentations can be viewed on the SIA YouTube Channel.

Philadelphia: City of Breweries


September 3, 2021 – October 10, 2021
The  Neon Museum of Philadelphia presents
An Exhibit of Larry Handy’s Amazing Breweriana

You may know of Philly’s Brewerytown – a neighborhood named after the extensive history of breweries in the area – but do you know just how deep the citywide beer history of Philadelphia runs? We invite you to dive into Philly’s frothy legacy with this special exhibition of Larry Handy’s amazing breweriana collection, which includes talks and videos.

The Neon Museum is located at NextFab, a spacious warehouse with a large parking lot at 1800 N. American Street, in the Kensington neighborhood.

Museum Hours:

Friday: 4pm to 8pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12pm to 5pm
Reservations preferred but walk-ins welcomed

Check the website for more information on the museum collections and for COVID recommendations.

In conjunction with the exhibit Sor Ynez, Nextfab’s Mexican restaurant, the Museum will offer discounted beer specials for museum patrons.


SIA and Canal Society tour in Pittsburgh, Pa


Friday – Sunday October 1 – 3, 2021

Canal Society of Ohio Joint Tour With the Pennsylvania Canal Society and with participation of the Northern Ohio Chapter Society of Industrial Archeology – Pittsburgh Riverboat Tour

A tour of Pittsburgh’s three rivers will be aboard the Rivers of Steel Explorer Riverboat on Saturday.  Boat staff will give narrated descriptions of the river bridges and a river ecology teaching station, while we cruise through two locks and view the redevelopment sites of former steel mills and the industrial scene along the Monongahela River.  A Saturday evening banquet will be followed by speaker Dr. John Oyler, who will tell us about the Dravo Corp., which has constructed numerous locks and dams, docks and bridge foundations.  On Sunday a pokey bike ride along Three Rivers Heritage Trail will include views of bridges and industrial sites along the Monongahela River, and a stop to ride the historic Duquesne Incline.

Here is a link for further information on the events. Wednesday, September 8, 2021 is the last day for reservations to get the group rate.

How the Brooklyn Bridge Was Built: A Visual History


A virtual presentation by the Center for Brooklyn History

Sept 1, 2021 6:30-7:30 PM

On May 24, 1883 New Yorkers and Brooklynites gathered to celebrate an engineering miracle: the long-anticipated opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. Jeffrey Richman’s new book, “Building the Brooklyn Bridge: 1869-1883,” tells the story of the bridge’s construction in over 250 images, many that have never before been published on the printed page. Join him for a visual feast of 19th century photographs, illustrations, engineering drawings, and stereographs that bring this remarkable story to life.

Speaker: Jeffrey Richman

Jeffrey Richman has been fascinated by New York City’s history for as long as he can remember. In 2007, after thirty-three years of practicing law, he became the full-time historian at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. He is the author of three previous books, including “Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery: New York’s Buried Treasure.” An avid collector, Richman amassed an outstanding collection of stereoview and lantern slide photographs of New York City – many of the Brooklyn Bridge under construction – as well as woodcuts and other memorabilia of that icon. He was honored to attend the 100th anniversary of the bridge’s opening in 1983

Reserve your place for the Zoom presentation:,RSVP,-This%20event%20is

Roebling Museum Selected by Smithsonian to Create Exhibit on American Workers


Image Source:

The Smithsonian Institution announced that it has chosen Roebling Museum to develop an exhibit about work in a steel-making company town founded in 1905. Roebling Museum, which documents the history of a company town built by suspension bridge engineers John A. Roebling’s Sons Co., is one of five museums nationwide to participate in Smithsonian’s Museums on Main Street program. 

The exhibit, planned to open in June 2022, will explore how immigrant and migrant families in the company town lived and worked. Guidance from the Smithsonian will help fit the history of Roebling into the national story of industrial history in the United States and address the many challenges that shaped the workforce through the years, including relevant examples affecting the community and Burlington County region today. 

“With this exhibit, we aim to increase understanding of life in a steel-making company town for new immigrants and African Americans who moved north as part of the Great Migration,” says Lynne Calamia, Roebling Museum executive director. “Many descendants of these families still live in the area and our vision is to tell the story of a diverse workforce in a company town through the eyes of the community itself.” 

Creating the exhibit will be a hands-on opportunity for New Jerseyans to get involved in telling their local history. Roebling Museum needs volunteers to help develop the exhibit’s story, choose objects from our collections to display, interview residents for oral histories, digitize historic company work records, and more. 

“This exhibit will reflect the strong history and culture of the company town of Roebling, and we need your help to make it successful,” Calamia says. “Our door is open to community members and volunteers of all ages to help us better understand the full story of work in Roebling. That means taking a deep dive into immigration stories, the Black experience, women workers at the mill, young workers, and the folks who worked outside of the mill to keep the community operating.” 

If you want to get involved by volunteering, donating objects from your family’s past, or contributing funds to the project, contact the museum at: or by calling 212.499.7200. 

About Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program: 

Museum on Main Street is a partnership of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and state humanities councils. The partnership brings exhibitions, educational resources, and programming to small towns across America. MoMS has visited all 50 U.S. states as well as Guam and inspired some 1,800 towns to rediscover their local histories while finding a renewed sense of community pride. Visit online at 

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work, and play. For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit 

About Roebling Museum: 

Roebling Museum tells the story of the origins and growth of Roebling, New Jersey, a company town built in 1905 by the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company, builders of the Brooklyn Bridge. The village of Roebling, including 700 homes, is historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places and every one of its buildings has an important story to tell. Exhibits, tours, and programs document the majority-immigrant work force that built the iconic suspension bridges of the American industrial age. 

Roebling Museum is open Saturdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers regular walking tours and online events. Group visits welcome by appointment. For the latest information, check Roebling Museum’s Facebook page and

Article from the Princeton Magazine website.

Looking Back At The Unbuilt Red Bank Bridge Proposal In South Philadelphia


Philadelphia-Red Bank Bridge. Image via Courier Post, March 27, 1926

article BY: THOMAS KOLOSKI 7:30 AM ON JULY 19, 2021

In the 1920s, Philadelphia was on the rise, with industry and was with business activity bustling across the city. The port was generally busy, the skyline was growing, and as automobiles surged in numbers, the city was in need of bridges spanning the Delaware River and connecting to New Jersey on the other side. The proposed Philadelphia-Red Bank Bridge was brought to public attention by Mayor J. Hampton Moore, who suggested that the city is in dire need of a new bridge at its south end. The bridge would have been situated very close to the present location of the Walt Whitman Bridge, though slightly further west and running from the north to the south rather than from the west to the east.


Philadelphia-Red Bank Bridge placement. Image via Google Maps, edit by Thomas Koloski

Mayor Moore had brought up the idea to the president of the Eureka Triangle Club, Governor Watkins. The discussion was then taken to the Woodbury Court House, where the monthly booster meeting for the club was taking place. The idea was spurred by the fact that the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (originally known as the Delaware River Bridge) was just over four months away from completion. The Mayor added that the two bridges together would greatly improve the flow of traffic in Philadelphia and South Jersey.


Philadelphia-Red Bank Bridge rendering. Image via Google Earth, edit by Thomas Koloski

If built, the bridge would have had an obvious placement when looking at the map. The southern tip of Broad Street curves slightly to the east when it approaches the Delaware River in the Navy Yard. On the New Jersey side, Red Bank Ave in West Deptford lines up perfectly with the southern tip of Broad Street, making the connection of a span seem ideal at that location. However, if built, Philadelphia Sports Complex and the neighborhood of West Deptford would see different rates of traffic compared to today. In the end, it was likely for the best that the Walt Whitman Bridge was built as it was planned out to come in fruition.

This piece was taken from the Philadelphia YIMBY website.

Society for Industrial Archeology

49th Annual Conference

August 23-27, 2021
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

The Anthracite Heritage Museum, National Museum of Industrial History (NMIH), and the National Canal Museum, a program of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, invite you to join the Society for Industrial Archeology in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which has been rescheduled for August 24-27, 2021.  We welcome everyone to join together to celebrate the Lehigh Valley’s unique legacy as the cradle of American industrialization.

Registration for the Society for Industrial Archeology’s 49th Annual Conference August 23-27 in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley opens Tuesday, July 13 at 6 a.m. Eastern Time. Please follow the link below to the conference web page for more details about the conference and, starting next Tuesday, to find links to register online!

SIA Lehigh Valley 2021 Conference Web Page

Tour descriptions and the program of paper sessions have been added to the conference web page in advance of online registration.

PLEASE NOTE: 49th Annual Conference registrants must read the SIA Covid Statement and agree to abide by the terms and conditions stated therein in order to participate in the conference.

The Lehigh Navigation: How a Waterway Changed the Nation

Martha Capwell Fox

 A presentation of the Pennsylvania Canal Society

Tuesday June 15, 2021
 7:00 – 8:00 PM
(30 minutes of presentation
followed by 30 minutes of Q & A)

The Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company was the first to move anthracite coal efficiently and profitably from mine to market. This was accomplished first by making the Lehigh River navigable by a series of “bear trap” dams, and then constructing the two-way Lehigh Navigation between Mauch Chunk and Easton.
With highly profitable anthracite delivery established, the company searched for an effective process of smelting iron ore with their anthracite coal.  In late 1838, the Welsh ironmaster David Thomas was hired to build the first commercially and technologically successful anthracite iron furnace along Lock 36 in Catasauqua.  For the first time, large quantities of high-quality iron could be made quickly in the US–thus triggering the American Industrial Revolution.
About the Presenter:  Martha Capwell Fox has been the historian and archives coordinator for the National Canal Museum and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor since 2012.  She is the author of three papers that were presented at Canal History and Technology symposia, on the silk industry in the D&L Corridor (2002), 19th century entrepreneur Jose de Navarro (2010), and the industrial history of Catasauqua (2011), and the book covering the history of the D&L Corridor, Geography, Geology, and Genius: how coal and canals ignited the American Industrial Revolution (2019).
A fifth generation Catasauquan, she has been fascinated by the histories of the canal and borough since childhood. After graduating from American University, Martha worked for National Geographic and Rodale Press prior to the Canal Museum.

Zoom meeting link:

 If you use the above link you shouldn’t need these, but they are here in case you do.
Zoom Meeting ID: 815 0323 7801
Zoom Passcode: 009912


Abandoned canals of the Schuylkill navigation

Tue, June 8, 2021
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

A talk by Sandy Sorlien
presented by The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

A Philadelphia native and longtime Manayunk Canal neighbor, Sandy is an Environmental Photographer and tour developer for the Fairmount Water Works. Starting in 2014, she bushwhacked the entirety of the 108-mile, 200-year-old Navigation system, documenting the stone ruins of locks, dams, and aqueducts. She’ll show some of these hand-built works, most from the 1840s. She will also address the Navigation’s role in the Industrial Revolution, as canal boats brought anthracite coal from Schuylkill County to tidewater at Philadelphia. The dams, development, and coal waste caused a pollution disaster requiring a major river cleanup, which buried many of the historic sites – fortunately not all of them. Sandy’s project has been supported by the Charles E. Peterson Fellowship Fund of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

Photographer and urban planner Sandy Sorlien will present photographs, maps, and drawings from her upcoming book, Inland: The Abandoned Canals of the Schuylkill Navigation. (Fall, 2022)

Zoom information will be sent the day of the event. Register here to receive the link for the free talk.

In case you missed Bob Thomas’s canal presentation for The Lower Merion Conservancy, it is available as a recording in the link below. 1821 to 2021: 200 Years on Our Regional Network of Historic Canals

The webinar recording is now available on the Conservancy’s website. Please feel free to share with friends and neighbors!