NMIH Acquires Significant Collection of Industrial Models

5E8A4643The National Museum of Industrial History is excited to announce the acquisition of the historical model collection of Daniel Diaz del Castillo Brodigan.  This collection of over 140 models represent important developments in the industrial age such as the sewing machine, which allowed for affordable, ready-made clothing and sparked a new industry.  It also includes models of technological advances like the Newcomen water pump, which extracted water deep from inside coal mines where this fuel source was previously inaccessible.  The National Museum of Industrial History was fortunate enough to be the recipient of this very large and important scientific, technological collection through a very generous gift from Mr. Daniel Díaz del Castillo Brodigan.

In 1943, at the age of ten, Daniel Díaz del Castillo Brodigan started building a small 5E8A4646electric motor. His fascination with machines led to an extensive collection of electrical machines and steam engines. This collection began with his initial intent to illustrate the development of machines designed to supply power. Daniel Díaz del Castillo Brodigan then began to include other devices that created a special impact on society, such as the telegraph and telephone.

Nearly 50 of these models currently make up a new display, “Machines at the Turn of the Century: 1890 to 1910”, housed in an early 20th century trophy cabinet that originally belonged to Bethlehem’s Masonic Temple. Another  freestanding display, “Models in Motion,” allows visitors to operate a two cylinder, double acting, vertical steam engine model as well as a model of a double acting grasshopper beam steam engine, both powered using compressed air.

“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.”  Andria Zaia, the museum’s Curator of Collections, said, “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.”  The current selection of models, which mainly represent industrial machinery spanning 1890-1910, is listed on the attached document and will be on display through the remainder of 2017.

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