Energy & Power
The Museum's collections on energy and power illuminate the role of fire, steam, wind, water, electricity, and the atom in the nation's history. The artifacts include wood-burning stoves, water turbines, and windmills, as well as steam, gas, and diesel engines. Oil-exploration and coal-mining equipment form part of these collections, along with a computer that controlled a power plant and even bubble chambers—a tool of physicists to study protons, electrons, and other charged particles.
A special strength of the collections lies in objects related to the history of electrical power, including generators, batteries, cables, transformers, and early photovoltaic cells. A group of Thomas Edison's earliest light bulbs are a precious treasure. Hundreds of other objects represent the innumerable uses of electricity, from streetlights and railway signals to microwave ovens and satellite equipment.
- Grand is one of four boats used to survey the "ruggedest" 300 miles of the Colorado River's Grand Canyon during the 1923 expedition by the U.S. Geological Survey. Led by Col. Claude Birdseye, the expedition's primary purpose was to survey potential dam sites for the development of hydroelectric power. Indeed, the survey party mapped twenty-one new sites.
- Grand is eighteen feet long, with a beam of four feet, eleven inches. Heavily built of oak, spruce, and cedar, the boat weighs about 900 pounds. Grand is one of three boats ordered in 1921 by the survey's sponsors, the Edison Electric Company, and built at the Fellows and Stewart Shipbuilding Works in San Pedro. The vessels were patterned after those designed by the Kolb brothers, who had based their boats on vessels used by trappers in the upper Colorado River canyons.
- Currently not on view
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- US Geological Survey
- Fellows and Stewart Shipbuilding Works
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- National Museum of American History