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 102-foot three-masted scow schooner Milton was built by Ellsworth & Davidson at Milwaukee, Wis., in 1867. It spent 20 years hauling lumber on Lake Michigan, along with hundreds of other small boats nicknamed the “mosquito fleet.” Built to carry as much cargo as possible, many of these flat-bottom boats did not sail very well.
- The Milton collided with the ship W.H. Hinsdale at Milwaukee in December 1867, causing about $100 in damage to each vessel. It also ran aground twice during its career.
- On 8 September 1885, while transporting a cargo of cedar posts and cordwood, the Milton sank off Two Rivers, Wis., during an autumn storm. The entire crew of five men was lost—three of them brothers.
- Date made
- Milton built
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- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History