Peter and former Congressman Charlie Dent to speak on family’s manufacturing past at the National Museum of Industrial History

Decades ago, children across the country would find under their Christmas trees heavy, cast iron toys manufactured in Fullerton, Pennsylvania just north of Allentown. The Dent Hardware Company, established by Henry H. Dent and business partners in 1894, produced specialty products, mainly hardware for refrigerators and cold storage units in their brass and iron foundries. The company expanded to produce cast iron toys between 1898 and 1937, becoming one of the nation’s foremost producers of toys that included steam boats, horse drawn carriages, and more that are still avidly sought out by collectors.

NMIH will host Henry’s great-grandchildren, Peter Dent and former Congressman Charlie Dent on Saturday, December 14th at 2pm as they recount the vast legacy their family’s business left on the area and the country’s industrial map. The company’s former headquarters is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a version of the company still operates today under the ownership of the Dodge family as Dent Design Hardware.

They will also tell the tale of their late uncle, Charles C. Dent, whose vision of bringing Leonardo da Vinci’s unfinished project of casting a massive bronze horse statue in the late 15th century to fruition spanned more than 15 years. The project was then headed up by Peter, who oversaw the casting’s completion and installation in both Italy and Allentown.

The event coincides with NMIH’s holiday cast iron toy display, featuring many varieties of toys created at the Dent Hardware Company and on loan from the Dent family’s personal collections. The exhibit runs now through January 12th.

Admission for this special event is included in regular museum admission.

About Peter and Charlie Dent
Peter is the former Da Vinci Science Center Chairman and helped carry on the legacy of both Leonardo da Vinci and his late uncle’s vision to erect a massive bonze horse sculpture in Italy. Following the project’s completion, he oversaw the merger of Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse, Inc. with the Discover Center of Science and Technology in 2003. After the merger Peter became a Da Vinci Science Center Trustee, serving as Chairman from 2006-2010 during a time when the center saw a dramatic expansion in programming and visitor experiences. Peter currently serves as the president of CDG Environmental, LLC, a specialty chemical company in Bethlehem, PA.

Charlie Dent is a former United States Representative, serving Pennsylvania’s 15th district for 13 years, from 2005 to 2018. Prior to his political career, Charlie earned degrees from Penn State University and Lehigh University and worked in various capacities as a development officer for a university, an industrial salesman, and a congressional aide. His political career began with a stint as a member of the Pennsylvania State Legislature for 14 years as both a representative and a senator. He currently works as a non-attorney senior policy advisor for DLA Piper, a multinational law firm, and is a frequent political commentator for CNN.

About NMIH
A Smithsonian Institution-affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage. Housed in an 18,000-square-foot, 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum is home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Glenn Koehler
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
National Museum of Industrial History
[email protected]
610.573.3579 (cell)

4 thoughts on “Peter and former Congressman Charlie Dent to speak on family’s manufacturing past at the National Museum of Industrial History”

  1. Hi Rick, thanks for writing. I’ve forwarded your message along to Mr. Dent. I don’t believe it’s the same one, but seeing if it might be a relative of his.

  2. A refreshing find to discover information on my ancestors and descendants on this website.
    Currently, I am pursuing my family heritage through Ancestry DNA UK and as a member of the Cleveland Family History Society in Durham / Yorkshire in England. Although I live in Newton Aycliffe in Durham, I was born in Thornaby on Tees [Yorkshire, UK], whereas my mother came from Wolverhampton [Staffordshire, England, UK]. My grandfather, Herbert Dent was born in Smethwick [Staffordshire, England, UK].

    Cortland may be spelled courtland ?

    Charles Cortland Dent 1917-1994 4th cousin 1x removed
    Harry Cortland Dent 1883-1983 Father of Charles Cortland Dent
    Henry Hewitt Dent 1861-1940 Father of Harry Cortland Dent
    Joseph Dent 1819-1889 Father of Henry Hewitt Dent
    William Dent 1790-1860 Father of Joseph Dent
    Joseph DENT 1766-1841 Father of William Dent
    Joseph Dent 1795-1860 Son of Joseph DENT
    George Glover Dent 1832-1916 Son of Joseph Dent
    Frederick Dent 1855-1937 Son of George Glover Dent
    Herbert Dent 1891-1963 Son of Frederick Dent
    Joan Mary Dent 1921-1997 Daughter of Herbert Dent
    Michael Hymer 1954- Son of Joan Mary Dent

    Any information would be gratefully received.

  3. A passion for horses in art form by the brothers David & Adrian Dent.

    Dents Originals Fine Art –

    David M Dent 1959- 2nd cousin
    Adrian J Dent 1966- 2nd cousin
    John Anthony Dent 1929-1984 Father of Adrian J Dent & David M Dent
    Horace Dent 1897-1978 Father of John Anthony Dent
    Frederick Dent 1855-1937 Father of Horace Dent
    Herbert Dent 1891-1963 Son of Frederick Dent
    Joan Mary Dent 1921-1997 Daughter of Herbert Dent
    Michael Hymer 1954- Son of Joan Mary Dent

  4. Hello Michael!!!

    I am the rose (sister) between the 2 thorns mentioned above. HaHa. As always, left out as the youngest…. This is so exciting! We Dent’s love our family and heritage- we have reunions every few years which help us stay very connected. I would love to help you on behalf of our family if neither of my brothers has. My cousin , Liz, has done some extended research on the Dents. We do know our roots back to England- I think our branch came from Atherstone. Why don’t you email me at [email protected]. Would love to hear from you!!!

    Sincerely Lisa Dent

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