PaperAge Magazine

National Museum of Industrial History to Restore Rare Scale Model Fourdrinier Paper Machine

Machine to be centerpiece of exhibit in 2018. Museum is seeking pulp and paper industry's help in funding restoration project.

 rare scale model of a Fourdrinier Paper Making Machine This eighteen-foot-long model, built in 1933 by Rice Barton, was commissioned by the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. It was a working display, producing paper for the Institute's print shop.

Nov. 16, 2017 - The National Museum of Industrial History (NMIH) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania will soon be restoring to operation an extremely rare scale model of a Fourdrinier Paper Making Machine. This eighteen-foot-long model, built in 1933 by Rice Barton, was commissioned by the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. It was a working display, producing paper for the Institute's print shop and sometimes hitting the road, being loaned to the New York Times, Milwaukee Journal, among others.

After eighteen years in storage, it is time to revive the model and employ it as the centerpiece of the NMIH's upcoming printing exhibit next spring (2018). In conjunction with working printing presses over a century old, the paper making machine will create a dynamic, interactive, and memorable experience for guests of all ages.

For 84 years old, the machine is mechanically sound, but will require several months of cleaning, troubleshooting, and minor repairs, plus connections to utilities and a supply of pulp. NMIH looks forward to working with the pulp and paper industry as we restore the machine and prepare an unforgettable and enlightening exhibit.

 rare scale model of a Fourdrinier Paper Making Machine For 84 years old, the machine is mechanically sound, but will require several months of cleaning, troubleshooting, and minor repairs, plus connections to utilities and a supply of pulp.

“To our knowledge, this is the only machine like this built by Rice Barton, or at least the only one we know about. It was designed to actually run and make paper and did so for many years. It could once again make paper but needs an overhaul to restore it,” said Tom Rodencal, President of Tom Rodencal & Associates, who is helping to get the word out about the restoration project.

“The Museum has documentation of the original purchase and on some of the past exhibits that the machine participated in. It is built to be transportable,” Rodencal added.

Would you or your company like to help?

Those interested in supporting the restoration project or sponsorship of the print exhibit can contact Megan Pildis in the NMIH Development Office at 610-694-6636 or email: mpildis@nmih.org.

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. To learn more please visit: www.nmih.org.

SOURCE: National Museum of Industrial History