The Edger station was the first steam electric plant produced that could tolerate over 1000 psi of pressure. Initially conceived by Mr. Irving Edwin Moultrop, then Assistant Superintendent, Construction Bureau of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Boston. He guided his company and the electric utility industry on a major step forward into the higher-pressure range of 1,200 psi steam.
On March 16, 1926 Dr. Robert H. Goddard, also known as "the father of modern rocketry," launched the world’s first liquid propellant rocket from a point 1000 feet S.S.E. of the plaque on the property of the Asa M. Ward Family. Erected by the American Rocket Society July 13, 1960 in recognition of this significant achievement in the evolution of astronautics.
Referred to as the "catalyst of the Industrial Revolution," textile manufacturing helped to transform the American economy from an agricultural to a manufacturing economy. It led to transitions from human to mechanical power and from wood to metal construction. Population shifts resulted from significant numbers of people moving from rural areas to work in urban factories. The collection of tools and machinery housed at the American Textile History Museum (ATHM) represents a collection of ideas which developed during this period.
On 24 December 1906, the first radio broadcast for entertainment and music was transmitted from Brant Rock, Massachusetts to the general public. This pioneering broadcast was achieved after years of development work by Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (1866-1932) who built a complete system of wireless transmission and reception using amplitude modulation (AM) of continuous electromagnetic waves. This technology was a revolutionary departure from transmission of dots and dashes widespread at the time.
The first transmission of intelligible speech over electrical wires took place on 10 March 1876. Inventor Alexander Graham Bell called out to his assistant Thomas Watson, “Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you.” This transmission took place in their attic laboratory located in a near here at 5 Exeter Place. A pioneer in the field of telecommunications, Alexander Graham Bell was born in 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He moved to Ontario, and then to the United States, settling in Boston, before beginning his career as an inventor.
On 28 April 1852 the first municipal electric fire alarm system using call boxes with automatic signaling to indicate the location of a fire was placed into operation in Boston. Invented by William Channing and Moses Farmer, this system was highly successful in reducing property loss and deaths due to fire and was subsequently adopted throughout the United States and in Canada.
When first proposed in 1819, the Hoosac Tunnel seemed so logical. It would provide an efficient and direct route for the Boston and Albany Railroad, whose pathway meandered 20 miles along precipitous grades. Early proponents, however, could not have imagined that blasting a 4.75 mile tunnel through the Hoosac Mountain would require over 20 years of labor. The project took so long to complete that it was commonly referred to as "The Great Bore."
The Granite Railway Company of Quincy was the first commercial railway in the United States. Incorporated in 1826 and designed by Gridley Bryant, the railway relied on horses, rather than steam locomotives, to draw the cars along the tracks. Its primary purpose was to transport granite from Quincy to build the Bunker Hill Monument.
The Watertown Arsenal was the first major engineering testing laboratory in America. It was created to store and manufacture cutting-edge military technology and weaponry. The United States Army Research and Materials Laboratory continued to use the site until 1989, employing soldiers and civilians to produce and test artillery.
Much of the sophisticated system of canals, dams, gates, and tunnels built to manage water power in 19th-century Lowell is preserved today as the basis of the Lowell National Historical Park and the Lowell Heritage State Park. Pictured above is the Boott Penstock, an early channel adjacent to…Read More
This hydraulic closed-die press, among the largest fabrication tools in the world, has had a profound influence in America's leading role in commercial aircraft, military aircraft, and space technology. As part of the same Heavy Press Program that created the Mesta press, the Wyman-Gordon press…Read More
The Saugus Ironworks, the first commercial ironworks in North America, was an impressive technological achievement for an early colony. The same basic processes are used today: reducing iron oxide with carbon to produce metallic iron that can be cast in a mold, producing wrought iron by puddling…Read More
By the 1890s, the transportation infrastructure of downtown Boston - a maze of narrow, winding streets laid out, in some cases, along Colonial cow paths - proved completely inadequate for the needs of a modern, bustling metropolis. Tremont Street, the city's main thoroughfare, was regularly…Read More
For more than 174 years, the Canton Viaduct has stood as a dominating structure on the New England landscape. When completed in 1835, the slightly curved, granite masonry bridge - 615 feet long, 70 feet high, and 22 feet wide - carried a single track of the Boston and Providence Railroad,…Read More
The idea of a canal eliminating the costly and dangerous sea trip around the Massachusetts peninsula of Cape Cod was envisioned as early as 1623 by Pilgrim leader Miles Standish. It was not until financier August Belmont became involved in 1906, however, that sufficient funds for the project…Read More
The Choate Bridge of Essex County, completed in 1764, is the oldest documented two-span masonry arch bridge in the United States. Named after Colonel John Choate, who supervised the construction, the bridge is located on South Main Street and spans the Ipswich River. Originally, the bridge…Read More
The Charles River Basin was one of the pioneering environmental engineering projects in America. The project transformed 675 acres of unhealthy and unsightly salt marshes and tidal flats were into an environmental centerpiece for the Boston area by 1910. This was one of the first public projects…Read More
Some of the station's notable achievements:
The first method for detecting radioactive particles in water supplies
A successful system of slow-sand filter beds for drinking water
The landmark demonstration that microorganisms carried within filter media could degrade…
This machine is an unusual triple-expansion, three-crank rocker engine, which in its day was a high-capacity unit providing outstanding performance for the Boston Water Works Corporation. Designed by Erasmus Darwin Leavitt, Jr. (1836-1916), Engine No. 3 was installed in 1894 to a high-service…Read More
While the Erie Canal has become well-known in the annals of American history, the Middlesex Canal, built two decades earlier and a model for canal engineers throughout young America, has only recently become recognized for its important achievements. Extending 27 miles northeast from Boston…Read More
The Old Mill, a smock type of windmill, believed to be the oldest operating windmill in the United States. Most of its parts are original. This mill is the sole survivor of four that once stood along the range of hills west of the town of Nantucket. The long spar and wheel rotate the top of the…Read More
Minot's Ledge is a wave-swept rock formation in a rocky area of ocean about a mile off the Cohasset shore near Boston. Numerous serious shipwrecks prompted the government to erect a beacon there, and construction began in the summer of 1847.
The light, constructed on tall iron legs…
Designed, patented, and built by Thomas W.H. Moseley, this arched 96-foot span bridge preceded by years the standard use of wrought iron for bridges. For the first time in the United States, Moseley incorporated the use of riveted wrought-iron plates for the triangular-shaped top chord.
George Washington's concern over standardization of rifles for the Continental Army led to the formation of national armory and to his selection of Springfield as its site. Completed in 1794, it was the first national armory in the United States. Like the Robbins and Lawrence Armory, the…Read More
The Borden Base Line is a 39,009.73 feet (7.42 miles ) survey line through the State of Massachusetts. The line was the first project of its kind undertaken in America and its establishment was the key element for Massachusetts pioneering mandate to survey the entire state.
The Watertown Arsenal was the first major engineering testing laboratory in America. It was created to store and manufacture cutting-edge military technology and weaponry. The United States Army Research and Materials Laboratory continued to use the site until 1989, employing soldiers and…Read More