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.
- The James R. Barker was built in 1976 by the American Shipbuilding Co. at Lorain, OH for the Interlake Steamship Co. It was named after the head of the Moore-McCormack Steamship Company, which owned Interlake. Costing over $43 million, Barker was the third 1000-footer to sail the Great Lakes, and the first built entirely on the Lakes. These big bulk coal and ore carriers were constructed to fit the largest locks connecting the Great Lakes.
- Barker's two big 8,000-hp engines turn two 17-1/2-foot propellers, pushing the vessel at a speed of 15.75 knots (18 mph). The ship can transport 59,000 tons of iron ore pellets or 52,000 tons of coal. The self-unloading rig has a 250-foot-long boom that can unload 10,000 tons of ore or 6,000 net tons of coal per hour. By contrast, Interlake’s first bulk carrier, the 1874 wooden-hulled steamer V.H. Ketchum, could carry only 1,700 tons of ore and took nearly twelve days to unload using manual wheelbarrows.
- The Barker was still in service in 2009.
- Date made
- year the James R. Barker was built
- built James R. Barker
- American Shipbuilding Co.
- bought the James R. Barker
- Interlake Steamship Co.
- Boucher-Lewis Precision Models, Inc.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History