A presentation at the National Museum of Industrial History, Bethlehem, PA
Sunday, February 24th at 2pm

Narrow Gauge railroads were an integral component of many integrated steel plants, useful for their ability to move heavy loads within the tight confines of steel mills. The Youngstown Steel Heritage Museum has undertaken a project to recreate a narrow gauge steel mill railroad including examples of the specialized rolling stock such as Open Hearth charging trains and Ingot Mold trains. The centerpiece of this new exhibit, named the J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad, is a 1937 H.K. Porter saddle tank steam locomotive which will return to operation in Youngstown this year. This presentation will discuss the creation of the J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad and the restoration of J&L (Jones & Laughlin) steam locomotive number 58.

The presentation will be given by Rick Rowlands. Rick Rowlands is the executive director of the Youngstown Steel Heritage Museum in Youngstown, Ohio. He has been involved in various aspects of steel industry history and preservation for over two decades including the preservation of blast furnaces and steam-driven rolling Mills.

This talk, part of the museum’s ongoing “How It Works” series that takes place on the fourth Sunday of every month, is designed to help patrons further understand of specific facets of industrial history. Admission for the “How It Works” tour is $5 in addition to regular museum admission.

Here is a link to information on visiting the museum.

From Stream to Sewer: A History of Philadelphia’s Landscape

A Presentation by Adam Levine

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Wagner Free Institute

As we walk around the city of Philadelphia, few of us think about the hidden world of streams that once meandered across the city. Adam Levine will present a fascinating illustrated lecture that will uncover part of the city’s history that few people ever think about – the drastic changes made in the urban landscape since the city’s founding in 1682. Levine has been digging into the history of the city’s sewers and drainage systems since 1998. His talk will focus on the systematic obliteration of hundreds of miles of city streams—including Cohocksink Creek in the Wagner’s vicinity, Mill Creek in West Philadelphia, and Wingohocking Creek in Germantown. These streams, with watersheds that covered thousands of acres, were wiped off the city’s map, buried deep underground in pipes as large as 20 feet in diameter to serve as main drainage arteries in the city’s 3,000 mile sewer system. The combined flow of sewage and stormwater in these pipes, which periodically overflow, has environmental repercussions that are still being dealt with today—not only in Philadelphia, but in any older city with a similar sewer system. This lecture is guaranteed to reveal a side of urban infrastructure you have never seen, and change the way you think about cities in general.

Museum open until the talk begins at 6 p.m. Registration is free, but donations ($5 suggested) are welcomed at the door!

About Adam Levine:

Adam Levine, a historical consultant for the Philadelphia Water Department and webmaster of, is the expert on all things water (or sewer) related in Philadelphia. Levine has been digging into the history of the city’s sewers and drainage systems since 1998. He is also editor in chief of PHS Grow, the magazine of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and author of five books on gardening

Date And Time
Wed, February 20, 2019
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM EST

Wagner Free Institute of Science
1700 West Montgomery Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19121

Check this link to register for the free event and see some eye-opening photos. Below that is information on transport to the musum.

Diffusing Knowledge to Workers: The Heroic Mechanics’ Institute Movement

Joseph Priestley Society presentation

Thursday, January 10, 2019

11:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

A luncheon and program featuring Robert G. W. Anderson, president and CEO, Science History Institute.

Mechanics’ institutes were independent bodies established by workingmen, often with the support of philanthropists, beginning in the 1820s. They flourished in the British Isles, North America, and Australia, and provided evening classes to teach mathematics, mechanics, and chemistry. Usually the buildings included libraries and often museums. It was not until public education became freely available that the institutes declined.

The movement was a heroic effort in self-education. Typically, workers returned home from work at 7:00 p.m., when they changed into their best clothing and began two hours of study; they would have to be at work again at 6:00 a.m. the next day. In the heyday of these institutes thousands of them existed, broadening the horizons of many hundreds of thousands of workers in the sciences and engineering. Today they are all but forgotten, but when studied, they provide us with an inspiring understanding of our Victorian forebears.

About the Speaker

Robert Anderson is the current president and CEO of the Science History Institute. He studied chemistry at Oxford University, receiving a doctorate in inelastic neutron scattering. Later, he took an Oxford diploma in British archaeology.

Deciding to pursue a museum career, he became a curator in the history of science at the Royal Scottish Museum and then moved on to the Science Museum in London, where he became keeper (or head) of the chemistry department. Before long he was recalled to Scotland as director of the National Museums, merging the Museum of Antiquities and the Royal Scottish Museum to form a single entity. Then in 1992 he was appointed director of the British Museum, where he oversaw the building of the Great Court. After a decade there, Anderson stepped down as director to concentrate on research, first at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University and later at Cambridge University.

Event Schedule

  • 11:30 a.m.
  • Networking Reception
  • 12:15 p.m.
  • Luncheon
  • 1:00 p.m.
  • Program

Tickets for the event are $25

Science History Institute

315 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

United States

Link for further information and tickets:

How It Works: Iron vs. Steel


Sunday, November 25th at 2pm

What is the difference between iron and steel? In this hands-on tour, guests will learn the basics of each material, then dive deeper to discover specific types of iron and steel, how production evolved over time, and what products they can be found in.

The National Museum of Industrial History “How It Works” series of tours are designed to help patrons further understand of specific facets of industrial history. The series is presented with NMIH’s Historian and includes behind-the-scenes looks at special collection items, artifacts, and aspects of the museum generally out of the public eye. This is the perfect chance to answer the questions of, “how does steam power work,” “how is steel made,” and more.

Admission for the “How It Works” tours is $5 in addition to regular museum admission. Complete visitor information at this link:

National Museum of Industrial History

602 E 2nd St,

Bethlehem, PA 18015

Telephone: 610.694.6644

FAX: 610.625.6204



Fetter’s Mill, along the Pennypack Creek


Open House Tours

Alnwick Grove Historical Society

Sunday Oct 28 1-4

2517 Fetter’s Mill Rd 19006

Fetter’s Mill at Fetter’s Mill Road and Pennypack Creek in Huntingdon Valley is a rare historic treasure.  During the 18th and 19th centuries, more than 40 water powered mills operated on the 20 mile-long Pennypack Creek and its tributaries.  The 5-story Fetter’s Mill, built circa 1750 by Joshua Morris and enlarged in the 1850’s by George Fetter, is the last one, essentially intact and exhibiting unaltered historic grist mill features.   Local historian and Alnwick Grove Historical Society member Fred Moore will conduct tours of the mill and mill race and dam. Open to all.

Note:  Fetter’s Mill Road Bridge, a metal through-truss bridge built 1883 and a historic treasurer in its own right, is currently closed to vehicular traffic, but safe for foot traffic.  Best access to the mill is from Huntingdon Pike via the bridge across from the Bryn Athyn Post Office (999 Fetters Mill Rd). Near and on-site parking is limited.  Consider parking at the Pennypack Trails parking lot at Welsh Rd and Terwood Rd and walking the scenic 3/4 mile along the creek to the mill on the old Philadelphia to Newtown Railroad track-bed recently converted as part of the Rails-to-Trails Project.

Also:  Local artist Donnette Glenn will be featured at Fetter’s Mill on Saturday, Oct 27, 10 AM- 6 PM.


The Art of the Brooklyn Bridge


October 27, 1918 1:00- 3:00

Richard Haw-Discussion and Book Signing –The Art of the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is a preeminent global icon.  It is the world’s most famous and beloved bridge, a “must-see” tourist hotspot, and a vital factor of New York and overall American life.  For a hundred and thirty-five years it has inspired artists of all descriptions, fueling a constant stream of paintings, photographs, lithographs, etchings, advertising copy, movies, and book, magazine and LP covers.  The Brooklyn Bridge may, in fact, have the richest visual history of any man-made object, so much so, that almost no major American artist has failed to pay homage to the span in some form or other. Noted author and bridge expert Richard Haw will showcase this vibrant visual legacy while reminding us of the span’s impact on New York itself, be it political, social, technological or artistic.

Richard Haw is a professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  He is the author of The Brooklyn Bridge: A Cultural History (2005), Art of the Brooklyn Bridge: A Visual History (2008) and Engineering America: The Life and Times of John Roebling, which will be published next year by Oxford University Press.

This presentation is appropriate for all ages, and will take place inside the Roebling Museum’s Media Room. It is part of the museum’s monthly Saturday Lecture Series.

Advance reservations are strongly recommended. If you do not wish to purchase your ticket on-line, please call the museum at 609/499-7200 to reserve your seat.

Information on admission and directions to the museum: