Lehigh Valley

National Museum of Industrial History acquires new models

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The National Museum of Industrial History just expanded its inventory.

It acquired the model collection of Daniel Diaz del Castillo Brodigan, which includes over 140 models representing developments in the industrial age, such as the sewing machine, according to a news release from the museum.

Technological advances are also shown in the models with items like the Newcomen water pump, which extracted water from inside coal mines for fuel. 

Brodigan started building motors at the age of 10, the news release states, and his interests led to an extensive collection of electrical machines and steam engines. Afterward, he began to include other models such as the telegraph. His goal was to show the development of machines that had an impact on society.

“These models are an important contribution to NMIH’s collection, and will help us engage visitors by using the models to explain how sometimes complex machinery operates at a basic level,” said Kitsa Behringer, the museum’s educational coordinator. “Not only will these help adults understand how these machines work, it will aid in our educational outreach programs with our Young Reader Series and our Meet the Expert programs.”

One of the freestanding displays at the museum will allow visitors to operate a type of steam engine model, which is powered using compressed air. Another display, "Machines at the Turn of the Century" will be housed in an early 20th century trophy cabinet.

“We’re grateful for not only for Mr. Diaz del Castillo Brodigan’s addition to our collection, but for spending decades of his life ensuring the story of industrial history survives for future generations," said Andria Zaia, the museum's curator of collections.

The current selection of models will be on display throughout the remainder of 2017.


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