The Giant That Stumbled: Baldwin Locomotive Works Dominated Its Field for a Century, Then Vanished

How could a Philadelphia-based global giant with 20,000 employees and a history of 120 years of operation disappear, leaving little trace? It happened to the Baldwin Locomotive Works (BLW), which perfected the art and science of building steam locomotives for domestic and worldwide markets. Baldwin was so dominant that in 1901, eight smaller builders that were scattered around the East banded...
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Pennsylvania Polymath: Samuel Stehman Haldeman

Samuel Stehman Haldeman was a pioneer in American science with an uncompromising empirical bent who made definitive contributions in geology, metallurgy, zoology and the scientific study of language. His groundbreaking lifework touched nearly seven decades of science and included identification of one of the oldest fossils in Pennsylvania, elucidation of a plan for an anthracite coal furnace for...
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Philadelphia’s Forgotten Inventor: The Untold Story of Rudolph M. Hunter

The lot at 3710 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia is all but empty now – a low scraggly hedge in front, a scattering of shade trees, a long concrete walk on the right, skirting Penn Newman Catholic Center. It’s hard to imagine the fanciful Victorian mansion that once adorned the site – a “pretty residence of brick,” the Philadelphia Press unimaginatively put it in...
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Spitz Model A3P Star Projector

  The Planetarium at The State Museum of Pennsylvania first opened to the public on July 14, 1965, and will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year on July 15-19. Early patrons and those who followed until 2004 will recall the tall, unconcealed mechanism emerging from the floor in the center of the theater, as much a part of the show as the stars and planets it projected onto the sky dome...
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Celebrating a Century and a Half: The Geologic Survey

The Pennsylvania Geo­logical Survey, offi­cially known today as the Bureau of Topo­graphic and Geologic Survey, and one of the bureaus of the Department of Environmental Resources, is one of only a very few of the Common­wealth’s executive branch agencies whose history can be traced to the first half of the nineteenth century. Created in 1836, the survey spawned three subsequent geologic...
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Noble Ambitions: The Founding of the Franklin Institute

In the minds of its founders, the Franklin Institute was built on noble ambitions,” historian Bruce Sinclair has written. And born of a young man’s fury, it might be added. In 1823, twenty-two year old Samuel Vaughan Merrick was denied membership in a Philadelphia mechanics’ asso­ciation. A number of similar organizations had sprung up in the early part of the nine­teenth...
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Executive Director’s Message

The two hundredth anniver­sary of Joseph Priestley’s arrival in Pennsylvania presents a time to reflect on the life and work of an individual who was truly a unique citizen of our state, nation, and the world. During his lifetime, Priestley was the representative man of the Age of Enlightenment in England and America. His discovery of oxygen in 1774 established his reputation worldwide as...
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Currents

Great Greek Following six years of extensive gallery and storage area renovations, The Univer­sity Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadel­phia, has recently reopened its exhibition space devoted to ancient Greek civilization. This new exhibit, entitled “The Ancient Greek World,” offers visitors a broad overview of the history and culture of ancient Greece and its colonial...
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Executive Director’s Message

Remembering the twentieth century has become a preoccupation bordering on obsession. As the lists of greatest moments and most important people grows daily, I am equally intrigued not only by what we choose to recall but the way in which we decide to commemorate the past. Over the past one hundred years Pennsylvanians have remembered their history by constructing a stunning array of statues,...
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Shorts

Offering a comprehensive view of the emergence and influence of French impressionism on American artists of the late nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, “American Impressionism from the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery” will be on view at the Southern Alleghe­nies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley from Friday, March 2, through Sunday, April 22, 2001. For more information,...
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