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Virtual Museum: Slate Industry

May 22, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


How did stone quarried in pits hundreds of feet deep become a standard product installed on roofs? This presentation will look into the slate quarries of Eastern Pennsylvania to trace the general history of the local industry and take a more detailed look at the impressive technology behind it. Learn how aerial cableway systems lifted slate blocks, easily weighing a few tons or more, and transferred them to trains or trucks. See where slate was sawed and then split by hand and further processed into products ranging from stair treads to roofing. Who knew a grey rock could be so interesting?

This lecture is presented by NMIH Historian Mike Piersa. Mike graduated with a bachelor’s in history from Moravian College and a master’s in history from Lehigh University. He has been with NMIH for over 17 years and has been instrumental in the research and interpretation behind the museum’s collections as well as the restoration of historical industrial equipment both at the museum and at outside facilities. His quarry machinery preservation work resulted in him becoming an MSHA Certified Miner and taking leading roles in important restoration and preservation projects across the country, including the Bangor Quarry Hoist Project, a collaboration between the Totts Gap Arts Institute, the American Industrial Mining Company Museum, and the Borough of Bangor, PA. Mike has presented across the country on his work with industrial heritage and in 2019 published The Big Green Machine, a short book detailing the history, preservation, and operational restoration of NMIH’s 115-ton stationary steam engine.

Part of NMIH’s Virtual Museum Live Programs. Get more info at https://nmih.org/virtualmuseum

All live streams will be at https://www.facebook.com/NMIHorg/live_videos/


May 22, 2020
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm