Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 7:00 – 8:00 pm E.S.T.

Join us to ride the rails (via webinar) and learn about the East Broad Top Railroad (Rockhill Furnace, Huntingdon County). Once called “the dormant gem of railway preservation,” the EBT RR is a rare narrow-gauge railway and time capsule of industrial technology.

After many years of inactivity, the East Broad Top Railroad has been purchased by a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation. The EBT Foundation is working with the volunteers of the Friends of the East Broad Top and the Rockhill Trolley Museum to return its Baldwin-built steam locomotives to operating condition and to continue stabilizing the railroad’s historic buildings.

Free, via Zoom. Pay-what-you-wish/Donations welcome

Here is a link for further information and to register for the program.


A River Runs Through It

A Webinar Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Fairmount Water Works

Thursday, May 12, 2022
12:00pm – 1:00pm

The Fairmount Water Works are one of Philadelphia’s most iconic sites, yet the least understood by locals. It’s even harder for out of towners to comprehend its significance when you tell them “you MUST visit our old municipal water processing facility. “ Yet an exploration of the space reveals a landmark that is a masterful marriage of classical form and innovative function. In its heyday, Fairmount water works certainly wasn’t a mystery to the average Philadelphian… or American for that matter. In the mid-19th century, it was a world famous tourist attraction— the most visited man-made attraction in America (only surpassed in numbers by a more natural “water feature”at Niagara Falls). Upon his visit in 1842, Charles Dickens called it “a place wondrous to behold.”

Join Water Works Executive Director Karen Young and education staff on a below-ground, behind-the-scenes tour to see the inner workings of the waterworks. We’ll also see the more modern amenities of the Interpretive Center, which includes classrooms and a fish laboratory.

We’ll also take a sneak peek at the recently opened multi-disciplinary art exhibition called
“POOL: A Social History of Segregation”, set in the former Kelly Natatorium in the lower level of the Water Works. The exhibition is an artistic and scholarly investigation into the role of public pools in America, with the goal of deepening the understanding and the connection between water, social justice and public health.

We’ll meet some of the artists and designers behind this ambitious exhibition.

Designed in 1812 by Frederick Graff and built between 1812 and 1872, it operated until 1909, winning praise for its design and becoming a popular tourist attraction. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976 for its architecture and its engineering innovations.

It now houses an interpretive center that explains the waterworks’ purpose and watershed history, managed by the Phila. Water Dept.

Here is the link to register for this event:


Wayne Junction Walking Tour

The Preservation Alliance For Greater Philadelphia

A Special Architecture Walking Tour

The Wayne Junction Historic District, bordering lower Germantown and upper Nicetown, was once a bustling Philadelphia industrial center known as “Workshop of the World.” In the later decades of the 1900s, Wayne Junction experienced disinvestment and decline as manufacturing moved elsewhere, leaving many of the buildings vacant and deteriorated. Join real estate developer and Preservation Alliance board member Ken Weinstein for a tour of the historic Wayne Junction area to get a closer look at his redevelopment projects while experiencing Philadelphia’s historical importance in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the hope and potential for Wayne Junction’s future.

The cost for the tour is $20 for Preservation Alliance members and $25 for non-members. 

Here is the link for more information and to register for the tour:

https://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001FBe1l2PWJGie690k1FtmvETatDLwdXQ9Tq8cjrm3TKVFBoc _kmKutYKnOPjGzaRZua1Ux1mqgLmq0KgTjeYcywk1p99HsUQ4A1ar50kfWnOPc4KpJfHGvyWWByR1hvV-RRl6OJ7Dd5vY-flXqtGc2m_xrK0QEaqbm5_9yDPtIExqNen-kEmNnoScJqFbHSRFol4cJyy31joecDuFyL5A6hma5dZCsq0z&c=6_akYkifmEgw6dijcc1NyMQD3gPDvHFK4hrLmpJt0ogaToyM7Ur79Q==&ch=-0dLiAnomGKl_YT_0m7GRDzIGZ560tpSadT7dgTOAF_dhALD76-UQw==

Roebling Museum Roadtrip

C.C. Sunderland and innovations in 20th century bridge construction

April 6, 2022 6pm

Join us as Dario Gasparini shares his research into construction technologies for suspension bridges with a focus on C. C. Sunderland, Chief Engineer for the John A. Roebling Son’s Company.

He will discuss construction of suspension bridge cables, the development of new structural systems for bridges, and the introduction of prestressed concrete.

Cost: Pay what you wish

Here is a link to register for the event:

from the National SIA Organization

Join the SIA for the 17th session of IA Online
Wednesday, January 19 at 8 p.m. Eastern (US & Canada):

Paul King & Marty Johnston – “Roebling’s Monongahela Bridge: History & Motion: A Progress Report”

Register to join us on Zoom:


This collaborative talk will be roughly 40 minutes long, with the remainder of hour reserved for questions and discussion with the presenters.

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

See How the Brooklyn Bridge Was Built

A Roebling Museum road trip presentation

Wednesday, December 1 at 6pm

Join us as Author Jeffrey Richman shares a selection of 19th-century images from his new book to explore the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Many of the images have never been published on the printed page before. Mr. Richman’s new book, Building the Brooklyn Bridge 1869-1883: An Illustrated History with Images in 3D, is avilable for purchase at local bookstores and online.

Check out this feature on CBS Saturday morning: 

Register here for Free Event. Sign up here!


The Hagley Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society presents


In person at the Hagley Center
The program will also be live streamed on Haley’s YouTube channel

During the nineteenth century, heroic individual inventors such as Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell created entirely new industries while achieving widespread fame. However, by 1927, a New York Times editorial suggested that teams of corporate scientists at General Electric, AT&T, and DuPont had replaced the solitary “garret inventor” as the wellspring of invention. But these inventors never disappeared. In this talk, Eric Hintz (Lemelson Center, Smithsonian Institution) will argue that lesser-known inventors such as Chester Carlson (Xerox photocopier), Samuel Ruben (Duracell batteries), and Earl Tupper (Tupperware) continued to develop important technologies throughout the twentieth century. Moreover, Hintz explains how independent inventors gradually fell from public view as corporate brands increasingly became associated with high-tech innovation. The independents enjoyed a resurgence, however, at the turn of the twenty-first century, as Apple’s Steve Jobs and Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner heralded a new generation of heroic inventor-entrepreneurs. By recovering the stories of a group once considered extinct, Hintz will show that independent inventors have long been—and remain—an important source of new technologies.

Registration of Eric Hintz’s talk is exclusively available through Eventbrite at  https://hintz.eventbrite.com
It will be live streamed from Hagley’s YouTube channel. Register at the link above to view the program.

View this link for other Hagley programs.

The Industrial Archaeology of the West Point Foundry

Join the SIA for the 15th session of IA Online Wednesday, November 10 at 8 p.m. Eastern (US & Canada)

T. Arron Kotlensky & Steve Walton – “Where Archaeology and History Collide: The Industrial Archaeology of the West Point Foundry”

The establishment of the foundry was encouraged by President James Madison, who, after the War of 1812, wanted to establish domestic foundries to produce artillery. Cold Spring was an ideal site: timber for charcoal was abundant, there were many local iron mines, and the nearby Margaret’s Brook provided water power to drive machinery. The site was guarded by West Point, across the Hudson River, and the river provided shipping for finished products.

This collaborative presentation will last 40 minutes followed by 20 minutes of Q&A with the presenters.

Register to join us on Zoom:

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

Former Budd Plant, Nicetown, Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s Vacant Budd Plant Becomes a Biomanufacturing Center

Aug 6, 2021


A facility that once fabricated metal products for the automotive and transportation industry central to a bygone era of Philadelphia’s economy, has found a new life as a biomanufacturing center, a key industry for the city’s economic future.The Plymouth Group, which owns the property, has partnered with Centerbridge Partners, L.P. to turn the former Budd Plant in Philadelphia into a facility that will support biomanufacturing efforts of companies across Cellicon Valley. The new site will position Philadelphia as a key lynchpin in biomanufacturing and continue the city’s growth as one of the top biopharma hubs in the United States.

The historic Budd plant will become known as the Budd campus. The first phase of the 2.4M square-foot project includes the 450,000 square-foot Budd Bioworks. It will include 300,000 square feet of cGMP drug manufacturing space along with 150,000 square feet of lab and office space which is expected to become available as soon as the fourth fiscal quarter of 2021. The full scope of the redevelopment encompasses six buildings spread across 25 acres in the City of Philadelphia.  It is conceived as a mixed-use transformation with residences, restaurants, and retail space complementing the Budd Bioworks once complete. 

The former Budd Company plant is located between Philadelphia’s Center City and the suburbs. The Budd Company began operations in Philadelphia in the 1920s, fabricating metal for multiple automobile companies, including General Motors, Buick, Ford, and Dodge. The Budd Company plant operated for decades until the plant was shuttered as imported automobiles began to dominate the market. It sat dormant for years, with multiple proposals to turn the property into a casino or mixed-use site. In 2019, the vacant building and campus were acquired by Plymouth Group, which set the stage for the Budd plant’s latest mission.

Michael Davis, the founding partner of Plymouth Group, touted the transition of the Budd plant from an automotive-focused facility to one designed to support the biomanufacturing community. He said few things ”capture the spirit of transformative change” in a city like the repurposing of a facility. He said the Budd plant will transition from making metal car parts one stamping machine at a time to building a state-of-the-art cell and gene manufacturing facility in the heart of the community.

”This won’t be known anymore as the ‘former’ Budd assembly plant. It will be the world’s leading biomanufacturing facility,” Davis said.

The investment into the rehabilitation and transformation of the Budd plant comes at a time when the biopharma industry in Philadelphia is seeing significant growth. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) placed Philadelphia in the seventh out of 10 top biopharma markets. In the overall rankings, the greater Philadelphia area took sixth in venture capital funding, secured the seventh place spot in jobs and lab space, and eighth place in funding from the National Institutes of Health. 

Philadelphia is home to more than 25 different cell and gene therapy companies, as well as outstanding research institutes, such as the University of Pennsylvania. In all, there are approximately 5,000 life sciences employees in the city and that could grow due to new manufacturing facilities like Budd Bioworks, Discovery Labs suburban Philadelphia campus, as well as training facilities like the Jefferson Institute of Bioprocessing. Approximately 409 drugs are currently in development within Philadelphia and 105 funding events have been completed so far this year that total approximately $4.48 billion.

Joseph Fetterman, head of the Colliers Life Sciences practice group in the Philadelphia market, said being able to deliver a tenant-ready biomanufacturing space in Philadelphia is crucial for the city to compete as a rapidly expanding and maturing market in this space. He said Budd Bioworks will become a preeminent facility in the Mid-Atlantic market.

The unique ability of Budd to expand through subsequent phases will provide opportunities for biomanufacturing tenants to grow along with them.” Fetterman said in a statement. “Budd Bioworks will enable us to support an end-to-end solution right here in Philadelphia.”

Davis added that Budd Bioworks will benefit from its proximity to academic research taking place at the University of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, as well as a rapidly evolving biopharmaceutical culture in the city that he said is ”unmatched and full of wonderful potential for transformative change.”

Alex Keown is a freelance journalist who writes about a variety of subjects including the pharma, biotech, and life science industries. Prior to freelancing, Alex has served as a staff writer and editor for several publications.

This link show the extent of the plant complex in Nicetown.

Here is a link to the Budd Plant in the Workshop of the World publication produced by the Oliver Evans Chapter.

Tour of the Mohegan Granite Quarry site


A 1926 photo of the quarry | Source: Milestone Heritage Consulting

Yorktown, New York

Saturday, November 6th, 10:30 AM

A Program of the SIA Roebling Chapter

From 1890 to 1941, the abandoned and long forgotten Mohegan Quarry was a major industry in Yorktown and a major New York State supplier of granite for buildings, including the Cathedral of St. John in Manhattan. At its peak in the mid-to-late 1920s, the quarry company employed between 200 to 300 workers, depending on the number and size of the contracts it had at any given time. Today, it is part of Yorktown’s 343 acre Sylvan Glen Park Preserve.

For some history of the quarry, please see Matt’s interpretive panels at http://www.milestoneheritage.com/ (scroll down to “Mohegan Granite Quarry Interpretive Panels”).

Quarried stone was moved by a cable-drawn incline railway. There is limited evidence of the original machinery, and one building remains, an explosives shed.

MAP: Please go to https://www.nynjtc.org/map/sylvan-glen-nature-preserve for a trail map from the NY-NJ Trail Conference.

Meeting place: We will meet at the trailhead car park on Stoney Street near Winding Court in Yorktown (please see the map). Google Maps knows the location as “Sylvan Glen Eastern Trail Head”, and “2820 Stoney Street, Mohegan Lake, NY” should also work.

Do NOT go to the Grant Avenue trailhead (Dog Park). Do not go to the Granite Knolls Park, and do not go to the Granite Knolls Sports & Recreation Complex. We will not be there.

The tour will be led by Matt Kierstead — if you’ve been on any of his tours you know you will be in for a treat!

Google estimates the driving time at about 1 1/4 hours from NYC but that could be optimistic. Public transportation does not seem to be practical unless you take a service like Lyft from an area train station.

Please bring your beverage and sandwich for lunch. There are no on-site toilet facilities. The total walking distance is about 2 miles, and the hike is not recommended for anyone with physical issues or limitations on walking on rocky surfaces or steep hills.

Trail information, per Matt: This is not a flat or paved walk. It is a dirt woodland trail, with flat and rolling terrain, some short plank boardwalks, maybe some mud depending on weather, and once we get to the quarry, a short slope on loose small stones. Then there is the steep 1,000 ft incline at the end which takes us down to the cutting shed ruins. There are lots of up to fist-sized loose stones, and it is not an easy walk back up. Some people may opt to stay at the top. Depending on enthusiasm, ability and energy level, we may take a diversion from the middle of the incline into the quarry bottom to look at some machinery artifacts; that will be the most challenging option.

For reservations or more details, email Sandy Needham at scotsloon@gmail.com, or call 347-808-9168. Please include your cell phone number and the numbers of people expected. On the day of the event, you may contact Matt at 845-234-9497.

The tour is limited to 24 people and we must have at least 6 signed up for it to take place. Your early reservation is appreciated.