Meet the Manufacture, Amorphic Tech, Ltd

The National Museum of Industrial History presents
Sunday, February 28th at 7pm


The National Museum of Industrial History continues its 2021 Meet the Manufacturer Virtual Lecture Series with Andrew Schevets, President of Amorphic Tech Ltd.

After spending several years supporting the water and rotating machinery industries, Andrew Schevets sought to create a technical solution to bring water technologies and industrial equipment to life.  At the close of 2013, Amorphic Tech Ltd was founded.  Over the years, as their top-tier manufacturing capabilities have grown, so has their customer base.  From the Federal Government to Fortune 500 companies, Amorphic Tech provides design & development, prototyping & manufacturing and comprehensive fluid system solutions from its headquarters in Allentown.

Join Andria Zaia, NMIH’s Curator of Collections and R. Scott Unger, Executive Director of Allentown Economic Development Corporation for a lively chat exploring the innovative work of modern-day Lehigh Valley manufacturer Amorphic Tech Ltd.

About our guest, Andrew Schevets, President of Amorphic Tech Ltd

Andrew Schevets is a mechanical engineer by vocation and an entrepreneur by profession.  He has a serious passion for creating and is currently President at Amorphic Tech Ltd, bringing ideas, machines, and industrial equipment into reality.  Through Amorphic Tech, he has delivered products all over the globe to several Fortune 500 end users.  He holds 2 patents and has several others pending, in the field of waste energy recovery and additive manufacturing.  Andrew’s energy recovery development work has been funded by both the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Energy.  He resides in Bethlehem with his lovely wife-to-be Liz and faithful companion Edwards, with his favorite past times being canoeing, hiking, and camping.

This program will air on NMIH’s Youtube channel and will also be available via an embedded video on the NMIH website the day of the talk.

Amorphic Tech, Ltd website link

Meet The Manufacturer: Stargazer Cast Iron

The National Museum of Industrial History presents
January 31, 2021 7pm


The National Museum of Industrial History begins its Manufacturer series with Peter Huntley, CEO & Founder of Stargazer Cast Iron based in Allentown, PA.

Stargazer Cast Iron was founded in 2015 by professional kitchenware designer, Peter Huntley, a graduate of Lafayette College in Easton. After years of working in both fine art and industrial applications and most recently designing glass and ceramic products for major brands including Disney and Warner Bros, Huntley became disenchanted by the lack of quality and accountability present in modern goods manufactured overseas. When he went searching for a new skillet and discovered that, like so many other products, quality in cast iron cookware had been on the decline for decades. Fed up with the status quo, he set out to build a product and a company that could be held to a higher standard. Today, Stargazer Cast Iron manufactures direct to consumer, sustainable skillets right here in the Lehigh Valley.

This program will air on NMIH’s Youtube channel and will also be available via an embedded video on the NMIH website the day of the talk.

Stargazer website link

Digging Up Bethlehem Steel’s History In Latin America


A Virtual presentation from the National Museum of Industrial History

JANUARY 23 @ 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

While the rise and fall of Bethlehem Steel is well-documented, the Corporation’s global impact particularly from places where they sourced raw materials is less well-known. From 1913 until 1971, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation operated iron mines in Chile, shipping ore to the US through the Panama Canal. Chilean iron ore was essential to Bethlehem Steel’s World War II production, cementing the ties between Latin America and the Lehigh Valley.

While the histories of Mexican and Puerto Rican workers illustrate Bethlehem Steel’s labor linkages, this talk provides a new perspective on the Lehigh Valley’s long-standing relationship with Latin America by illuminating Bethlehem Steel’s mining operations in Chile. Various engineers, geologists, and Bethlehem Steel executives worked on the Chilean mining projects, and many brought families and built lives in the mining towns or surrounding areas near La Serena, Chile. Through these connections Chileans also came to study, work and live in the Lehigh Valley in the 20th century.

This virtual talk explores the history of Bethlehem Steel’s iron mining operations in Chile, the transnational flows of raw materials and people and Bethlehem Steel’s legacy in Latin America.

The goal of this project is to research the history of Bethlehem Steel’s iron ore mining operations in Latin America, with a plan to present findings in academic journals, museum exhibits, public lectures, and/or documentaries. Some of the core questions that guide this project are: What role did iron ore extracted from Latin America play in Bethlehem Steel’s production processes? And, how did the Bethlehem Steel Corporation (& its subsidiaries) impact the regions where they had mining operations?

If you have memories, photos, documents, or contacts that you are interested in sharing with the project, we would love to hear from you. Please visit with whatever information you are able to share, and we will be in touch.




Society for Industrial Archeology, IA Online


Join the SIA for the sixth session of IA Online Wednesday, December 16 at 2 p.m. Eastern (US & Canada):

Francisco Montoya Mar and Angélica María Medrano Enríquez – “La Esperanza candy and chocolate factory. Zacatecas, Mexico”

Kevin Coffee – “Industrial Lowell and the dawn of the Anthropocene”

Francisco Montoya Mar’s presentation is based on his book Arqueología en la fábrica de dulces La Esperanza (Archeology at the La Esperanza candy factory).

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.

Yours in IA,



If you haven’t used Zoom before, don’t worry. You’ll be prompted to download the software or join via your web browser when you follow the link above. The host will provide a brief orientation to Zoom at the beginning of the session

Also note the sessions will be recorded so they can be viewed at a later date.

Allegheny Portage Railroad

Join the Roebling Museum for a virtual lecture about the first place John A. Roebling tested his wire rope, the Allegheny Portage Railroad!

Thu, November 19, 2020
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST

Be virtually transported to another important Roebling historic site!

The Allegheny Portage Railroad was the first railroad to circumvent the Allegheny Mountains and used Roebling technology to do so. Join us to learn more about this remarkable historic treasure.

We will hear about the history and importance of this National Park site from Park Ranger Elizabeth Shope.

Follow this link to register.



From the collection at Hagley

Last month, we brought you a “lost” silent film found in the Cinecraft collection called “The Heart of Cleveland.” That film from 1925 pre-dated the founding of Cinecraft in 1937 so it wasn’t something the company produced. How it came to be part of Cinecraft’s collection isn’t known, but we do speculate in the article if you are interested.

Click here for more information about the Cinecraft collection at Hagley

This month, we are featuring the earliest print of a film produced by Cinecraft in the Hagley collection. The Romance of Iron and Steel, produced in 1938, sponsored by the American Rolling Mill Company (ARMCO) explains the science and process of making rolled steel. The film opens with an overview of the ARMCO Research Lab and then follows the manufacturing process through the company’s production facility. While never explicitly stated, we can assume that the film was shot on location at ARMCO in Middletown, Ohio. The film concludes with a message about “ARMCO men” and company culture with an address by ARMCO founder George M. Verity.

In addition to the print, we also have a copy of the film’s script showing edits made at some point during its development. Another interesting note, the original credits in the script attribute the film to Tri-State Productions. Cinecraft founder Ray Culley worked on a series of General Electric films for the Cleveland based Tri-State prior to founding Cinecraft in 1937. It’s possible the project originated at Tri-State and Culley inherited it when he started his own business.  While the mechanics of how the film came to be a Cinecraft production might never be known, what we do know is that this is an early example of Ray Culley’s skill as a filmmaker. 

In an article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about The Romance of Iron and Steel in 1938, the paper’s movie critic W. Ward Marsh wrote 

“…for perfection in all departments (camera work, editing, narration, etc.) neither Hollywood with its too infrequent excursion into the documentary nor England with its boastful specializing in the documentary have produced anything to beat it…..So excellent is the technical work and so genuinely informative is the picture that I urgently recommend it be edited down to single reel length…and be issued to movie theaters.

Even while factoring in the writer’s hometown bias for a film produced in Cleveland, it’s hard to argue against the critics’ assessment of the film’s quality. It is well written, expertly paced, and, most importantly, informative. Even watching it over 80 years later, the film remains compelling.

Perhaps the most impressive technical feat of the film is a series of tracking shots taken from overhead cranes that offer a unique perspective into the process and machinery used to make rolled steel. It’s a creative technique that elevates the film’s production value beyond the film’s actual budget. Here is the longest of these tracking shots from the film:

To watch the entire film, check it out in the Culley Family Cinecraft Collection:


Other notes about The Romance of Iron and Steel

The film was narrated by Basil Ruysdael who started his career as an opera singer before becoming an actor. He served as the commercial spokesman for DuPont’s Cavalcade of America on NBC Radio beginning in 1940, which was among his many roles on radio.  He appeared as a detective in the first Marx Brothers film The Cocoanuts. His last role came as a voice actor for Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians

George Verity, the ARMCO founder who appeared at the end of the film, started the company in 1899 and served as the company president until 1930. A retired steam towboat named after Verity is now a museum in Keokuk, Iowa:

The film’s name likely originates with the 1936-37 Great Lakes Exposition held in Cleveland. “The Romance of Iron and Steel” was one of the Expo’s themes. The massive fair on Lake Erie promoted business and industry in the area. 

To dive into the Cinecraft collection at Hagley, start here at our Digital Archives: digital.hagley/cinecraft

Cinecraft is still in business and specializes in eLearning and training & development projects for a national clientele and continues to develop various motion picture projects for business and non-profit clients. For more information, please visit ​

Kevin J. Martin is the Curator of Archives and the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Audiovisual and Digital Collections at Hagley Museum and Library.

Roxborough’s River and Water: A History

thursday, october 15 @ 7pm (online)

A presentation by Adam Levine

For almost 100 years the Roxborough Pumping Station, just above the Flat Rock Dam, was a landmark on the Schuylkill River, pumping water into two reservoirs on high ground to serve the city’s northwestern section. In this illustrated talk, Adam Levine, historian for Philadelphia Water, reveals why the system was built, how it worked, why it was abandoned, and its ultimate dereliction and demolition in 2011. Adam Levine has been researching the history of the city’s water system since 1998, and this brand-new talk is not to be missed.

This event is cosponsored by the Alliance for Watershed Education (AWE), Philadelphia Water Department, the Upper Roxborough Civic Association, the Roxborough Manayunk Conservancy, the Friends of the Upper Roxborough Reservoir Preserve, and Residents of the Shawmont Valley.

Register Here

Introduction to the Railroads of the Civil War

A Civil War Round Table with Bernard Kempinski

August 26, 2020 6:00 pm

This is a zoom webinar hosted by the Legacy Foundation of the Union League

In the two decades before the start of the Civil War the railroads of the United States underwent a period of amazing growth and technological development. Nonetheless, railroads were still in their infancy. It was during the rebellion that railroads came of age. They became both strategic resources, as well as military targets, precisely because they were strategic resources. During the war, soldiers, material and food were routinely transported by rail along with civilians and the raw material necessary to keep the war effort progressing. While the modern viewer would recognize the civil war era railroad and its primary components, many differences, some obvious and some subtle, exist between then now. In this program, author and railroad historian Bernard Kempinski will try to explain how railroads were built, operated, contributed to the start of the war and affected its prosecution. A model railroader as well, Kempinski will also show examples of how he is modeling a civil war era railroad set in 1863 in Virginia.

Here is the link for registering for the event,

Below is a link on You tube for a previous talk. It was an excellent presentation by Charles Duff on his book “The North Atlantic Cities.” Much of it is a discussion of the development of the row house and its translation from Europe to America.

Probably the talk on Railroads will appear later on this You Tube list from the Legacy Foundation. Share it those who might miss the talk on the 26th.

Philadelphia’s Historic Cycling Culture

The Lower Merion Conservancy is hosting a virtual presentation by Oliver Evans chapter member Bob Thomas.

Thursday, June 25th
7:00 p.m.

The Conservancy is delighted to host Bob Thomas – architect, preservationist, greenway planner, and avid cyclist – for a lecture event about Philadelphia’s historic cycling culture. The lecture, which will touch on the growth of cycling in and around the city during the late nineteenth century, has heightened relevance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis that has moved many to take to their bikes.

The lecture will feature guest comments from local leaders in the cycling community of Greater Philadelphia about exciting upcoming developments.

The presentation will be accessed through the Zoom application. Registration is required for you to be sent the link to connect to the program. To register, click in the Conservancy’s newsletter linked below.

The newsletter also has two story maps that can be viewed. One is on historic neighborhoods along the Philadelphia and Western Railroad and the other is on the Mill Creek Valley and its industrial history.—Beyond–Coming-to-You-Virtually-.html?soid=1101546758623&aid=L9-osbIi2lY