Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Greenfield Villiage

A couple of weeks ago I went to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI with the family. This "living museum" was created in the late 1920's by Henry Ford to encourage innovation and invention. It's an interesting place that has among other things the Wright Bros. bicycle shop and Thomas Edison's laboratory and workshop. It showcases the techniques and inventions of the late 19th and early 20th century. The glassblowing shop (above) is always one of my favorite demonstrations. Here are a few more photos:

This is the display case in the Wright Brothers bicycle shop. Note the early inner tubes and wrenches.

This is the "Invention Factory", Thomas Edison's workshop. One of the fascinating things for me is how all of the lathes, drill presses, and other machine tools throughout the workshop, and the entire village were steam powered. They would have a big boiler that would power a piston, that would turn a flywheel, which by the use of large belts, would turn a drive shaft that would run along the ceiling of the room. Belts connected to each machine would then be connected to this drive shaft . Later, these were converted to electric motors. Amazingly, these devices, apart from the mode of power, are easily recognizable as the ancestors of today's machine tools.

This is Thomas Edison's lab. At a this bench, he worked on the chemical composition for the filament in his electric light bulb. I have many other photos, but there just is not enough space here to show as many as I would like.

I'm currently in Washington, DC with my son seeing the sights, so expect several posts coming soon. Before I start on that, I wanted to share these. I downloaded them large size, so that you can see excellent detail if you click on them.


O' Tim said...

Cool stuff, Tim. I'm looking forward to another trip to D.C. next month. Can't ever get enough time for all the museums in that town. If you like art, I recommend the Freer Gallery behind the old Smithsonian.

shoprat said...

You know I haven't been there since I was in college. Guess I'll have to mosey on down there soon.

Joe the Troll said...

I took one look at Edison's lab and thought of the Flash.