Hold onto your engineer caps, railroad history lovers


One of the World’s Largest Steam Locomotives Is About to Make a Triumphant Return

Now, six decades after the last Big Boy was taken off the rails, the Union Pacific is rebuilding one of the famous locomotives in honor of the upcoming sesquicentennial celebration of the first Transcontinental Railroad. It’s a project so ambitious that Ed Dickens Jr, a Union Pacific steam locomotive engineer and the man leading the rebuild, has likened it to resurrecting a Tyrannosaurus rex.

More on the story at this link:


A 3D-printed house you can actually live in should be ready by 2019

This piece seemed an appropriate follow-up to the post on Edison’s concrete houses.

3D Cement1

In The Netherlands, a company called Van Wijnen is working with the city of Eindhoven to build the world’s first community of 3D-printed houses. The planned community will have five houses, all printed with concrete. Each subsequent house will build on the ones that came before; the first house will be relatively simple, just one story. The fifth house will be two stories and incorporate what the team has previously learned.

At the beginning, the houses will be printed offsite and brought to their final location in the Meerhoven district of Eindhoven. The aim is to make the futuristic-looking houses a work of art in and of themselves, so the final community looks like a sort of sculpture garden.

Van Wijnen is embarking on this project for multiple reasons. According to The Guardian, there are a shortage of bricklayers in The Netherlands. The craft is becoming more expensive as a result. In contrast, concrete is relatively in expensive and versatile. What’s more, 3D printing it is economical because none of the material goes to waste, and the method allows printing different types of concrete (reinforced with insulation or coated with dirt repellant) at once. Additionally, it can be easily customized according to the wishes of the person who will live in the home.

3D Cement 2

The real key here is that these homes aren’t just models; they will actually be lived in. And if this project is successful, more 3D-printed concrete homes will follow. The first home of Project Milestone should be ready sometime in 2019. For now, the homes are being printed offsite, but the company hopes that by the fifth house, the work will be done at the Meerhoven site. And apparently, the waiting list for the first house is already 20 people long, so it’s clear that Van Wijnen won’t have trouble finding someone to rent their 3D printed homes.

Edison held 49 cement patents


Patent for single-pour concrete house

This Saturday several OE members will be taking the Cement in the Lehigh Valley tour. The Intermountain Concrete Specialties website features information on Edison’s cement products that might be of interest to our group.

“Most people know Thomas Edison for the light bulb, but did you know the famous inventor also held 49 cement patents? An important part of concrete history, Edison’s patents included cement processing equipment, waterproofing cement paint, and even a mold for single-pour concrete construction. The visionary thinker imagined a future with concrete houses, concrete furniture, and even concrete pianos and refrigerators!”


More on Edison’s cement houses:



The Edison Portland Cement Company secured the contract to build the original Yankee Stadium in 1922.



Demo Days at the Thompson-Neely Grist Mill

Thompson Neely Mill


The Chapter is looking into a visit to a local mill operating the technology devised by our namesake, Oliver Evans. Also members might be interested in a visit to this farm and mill complex recently opened after restoration to a working mill by volunteers. Now the building will be able to function as a 19th century period-accurate grist mill, and tours will explore how the mill once fit into the farmstead.

Posted by Washington Crossing Historic Park on Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Demonstration Days at the Grist Mill

See the newly restored Thompson-Neely Grist Mill in action during a live milling demonstration on Sunday, May 20, June 17, July 15, August 19, September 16 or October 21. Demonstrations will be held at noon, 1:30 PM and 3 PM.

During a demonstration, the park’s miller will use 19th century techniques and tools to demonstrate how the Grist Mill would have functioned as part of the Thompson-Neely Farmstead.

Admission is $7 per person and includes a guided tour of the Grist Mill and Thompson-Neely House and Farmstead. Visitors who have purchased a $15 multi-site tour on a Demo Day may attend a demonstration at no charge.

The mill is located across the street from the Thompson-Neely House and Farmstead, 1635 River Road, New Hope, PA.



Subway Archeologist


Here is link to an article in the New Yorker highlighting the work of a dedicated individual, Philip Ashforth Coppola, who has taken on the mission of recording the 472 subway stations in New York City.


His work is currently featured at the New York Transit Museum. http://www.nytransitmuseum.org/program/onetrackmind/

Selections of his drawings have been published in a book called One Track Mind. https://www.amazon.com/One-Track-Mind-Drawing-York-Subway/dp/1616896744

A documentary on him can be viewed by those who are Amazon Prime members.


Oliver Evans of Newport, Delaware

On May 10th from 7-9pm at Greenbank Mills & Philips Farm, join us as we get to the grist of this amazing and remarkable man, born not far from our historic mill. Known primarily for the grist milling system that caught the eyes of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Oliver Evans was a mind so ingenuitive that his mark upon our country is undeniable. And what grist mill would be complete without its water system? Join us for the lock down on this fascinating and innovative system!

Light refreshment will be provided.

Admission to this presentation is free, though we graciously and gratefully accept donations.

For more information please visit our website, www.greenbankmill.com, email us at info@greenbankmill.com or call 302-999-9001. Greenbank Mills and Philips Farm is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Greenbank Mill National Historic District and expanding public knowledge of Red Clay Valley industrial, agricultural and social history through educational programming, recreational rental facilities, and community partnerships.


How It Works: Model Steam Engines

steam engine

Sunday, April 29th at 2pm

One of the best ways to learn how something works is to see a functioning model of it.  This month’s How It Works tour will show visitors how stationary steam engines work by operating a series of model steam engines using compressed air.  Many depict engines that rarely survived in full size, such as oscillating cylinder engines and a walking beam engine. Also present will be a newly acquired cutaway model engine that allows the interior parts to be seen in motion.   This may be the only time this year that certain pieces normally kept in storage will be brought out and demonstrated.

Admission for this special “How It Works” tours is $5 in addition to regular museum admission.

National Museum of Industrial History

602 E 2nd St

Bethlehem, PA 18015