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Steven’s Patent Model of a Steam Engine Cut-off Valve – ca 1861

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 33,855 issued to Francis B. Stevens of Weehawken, New Jersey on December 3, 1861. The patent was for an improved design for the mechanism controlling the inlet valve of a steam engine. It was based on the previous Patent Number 1,950 of January 25, 1841 by himself and Robert L. Stevens.

Both patents provided a means of adjusting the point in the power stroke of the engine’s piston at which high pressure steam being fed to the cylinder was cut off. This was desirable as power was extracted from the expansive force of the steam after the valve closed. This saved fuel by avoiding continuous use of high pressure steam.

The images of the model show it to be a frame holding the four vertical lift rods for the valves of a steam engine. A hand crank at the left of the model operates an eccentric wheel which is connected by rods to a rock shaft at the other end of the frame. Four tappets are mounted on the rockshaft, each operating a valve. The exhaust valves are operated directly by the tappets on the shaft. A hollow rock shaft sliding on the first is operated by a second eccentric and is used to vary the cut-off of the inlet valves. The tappets for the inlet valves have hinged faces which can be adjusted up or down by a small lever. The amount of this movement adjusts the point at which steam is cut off.

Stevens’ valve gear designs were widely used in steamships driven by beam engines. The first use was on the steamship Albany which served on the Hudson River. The vessel was owned by Robert L. Stevens, the uncle of Francis.

The patent model is constructed of brass and steel. The top of the frame holding the tappets is engraved “F. B. Stevens.” All of the key elements of the patent are illustrated by the model. The image of the tappet end of the model shows the four tappets and lift rods. The steam inlet valve rods are the first and third from the left. The hinged face of the steam inlet tappet can be seen in the image of the side of the model. A full description of the operation of the valve gear along with complete diagrams of the patent can be found in the patent document online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, /www.uspto.gov.

Stein Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
This steam engine indicator, serial number 24296, was manufactured by Stein Sohn of Hamburg, Germany. It consists of a brass piston with two grooves; a vented brass cylinder; an internal, double wound spring, which can be changed; and a brass holder for a pencil. The large drum is damaged and cannot be taken apart for inspection, but it probably contains a spiral spring. Accompanying the indicator is a box with two springs, a scale reduction parallelogram, a tri-square pulley and bracket, and a knob to adjust the pencil pressure on the drum.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Stearns’ and Hodgson’s Patent Model of a Steam Engine Governor – ca 1852

National Museum of American History
George S. Stearns and William Hodgson of Cincinnati, Ohio, submitted a patent application for an improvement in governors for steam engines to the United States Patent Office. They received patent 9,236 on August 31, 1852. A governor regulates the speed of an engine. Their governor was of normal design, but Stearns and Hodgson claimed as new their use of quadrants with teeth at the end of each arm supporting a fly ball. The inventors claimed the advantages of such a design were simplicity of operation and low cost of construction.

The patent model as shown in the image is constructed of cast iron and steel. All of the key elements of the patent are illustrated by the model. It includes a hand crank to permit demonstration of actual operation. A full description of the workings of the governor and diagrams showing the complete design of the patent can be found in the patent document online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, /www.uspto.gov.

Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
This steam engine indicator consists of a steel piston with three grooves; a vented steel cylinder; an external, double wound spring, which can be changed; a small drum with a spiral spring and a single record; and a brass stylus. Accompanying the indicator is a box with an extra piston and line, fourteen extra springs, a wrench, and two small parts.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
The American Steam Gauge Co. of Boston, Massachusetts, manufactured this steam engine indicator, serial number 6216. It consists of a brass piston; a vented brass cylinder; an external spring, which is missing; a large drum with a coil spring and single record; and brass stylus.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
This steam engine indicator consists of a steel piston with three grooves, which can be changed; a vented steel cylinder; an external, double wound spring, which can be changed; and a brass stylus. The drum assembly is missing. Accompanying the indicator is a box with two extra pistons and liners, seven extra springs, and one turn cock.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Star Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
The Star Brass Mfg. Co. manufactured this steam engine indicator, serial number 485. It consists of a steel piston; a steel cylinder; an external spring, which is missing; a small drum with a spiral spring and a single record. The stylus is missing, but is likely a pencil point. The accompanying box has five double wound springs.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Star Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
The Star Brass Mfg. Co. manufactured this steam engine indicator, serial number 760. It consists of a steel piston with one groove; a vented brass cylinder; an external, double wound spring, which can be changed; a small drum with a spiral spring and a single record. The stylus is missing.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Southeast ethnographic and vocabulary notes May, 1907

National Anthropological Archives
autograph document

Includes: census of Indian families in several Louisiana towns, pages 2 and 200; Houma vocabulary, pages 3, 198, and 4; Alibamu belt design, page 8; Hitchiti and Creek stories, pages 29-33, 172-169; and diagram of "Stomp ground in Greenleaf Mtns. for Natchez and Cherokee," page 58. Diary of May 2-22 [1907] in Louisiana; then proceeds to Indian Territory. In stenographic notebook. Is numbered 1-100 on on side of pages and 101-200 running back the other way on reverse; but notes have been taken in normal order. Partial outline of contents prepared summer, 1970 by M. C. Blaker gives page numbers in order inscribed, Incomplete outline of contents left with manuscript.-- MCB, 6/1972.

Sneaky 1960s rabies prevention inventions

National Museum of American History

Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have dramatically influenced American history, culture, and quality of life. Smallpox, polio, and syphilis, once constant threats, are now distant memories for many, and recent antibody-based therapies continue to further the human battle against disease. Read our Antibodies Week posts on pregnancy testsan-tee-bodies t-shirts, plague, and healthy hogs

Anyone who endured a terrifying childhood screening of Old Yeller can testify that the ghastly symptoms of rabies, as well as its transmission via the bite of an infected animal, make rabies a particularly feared and fabled disease. Vaccines have ensured that the symptoms of many infectious diseases are unfamiliar to Americans—we might have heard about the symptoms, but we can't really picture what it would be like to suffer them. That is not the case for rabies.

Illustrated poster with red and black text: "The fox can transmit rabies." Illustrated image of a red/orange fox with bared teeth on a fallen log. Trees and leaves.
 
Rabies is a viral disease that infects the nervous system. It is transmitted through saliva, as well as brain and nervous system tissue. At first, an infected victim might experience malaise, and a slight tingling at the site of the bite wound. But soon, the virus infects the brain, eventually causing hallucinations, severe agitation, strange or violent behavior, and hydrophobia—the fear of and inability to drink water—coupled with extreme thirst. The manifestation of these later symptoms indicates that it is probably too late to begin successful treatment, and the victim will almost surely die. Rabies is a horrific disease for any animal to suffer.
 
Rectangular cardboard box labeled "Rabies Vaccine (Duck Embryo)" in a printed label. It is half open. Inside, vials with liquid are visible.

Happily, we now have very effective vaccines that prevent rabies in humans and other animals. Even if you are bitten by a non-vaccinated, rabid animal, quick administration of antibody-based therapies can now save your life. There is no reason that anyone, canine or human, has to die from rabies. Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year more than 50,000 people worldwide die from rabies. Why?

Human vaccination and post-bite treatment for rabies is expensive and complex. The best strategy for rabies prevention is to vaccinate the wild and pet animal populations that transmit rabies. But how do we vaccinate wild animals?

One possibility is that we don't vaccinate them . . . we let them vaccinate themselves.

In the United States, wild animal populations, such as foxes, bats, and raccoons, are the most common carriers of the rabies virus. During the 1960s, investigators at the CDC attempted to develop a device that would allow these animals to "self-vaccinate." The scientists modified earlier devices—which had been used by trappers and ranchers—so that they would vaccinate, rather than kill, the coyotes or raccoons that happened upon them.

One of these early devices that the CDC sought to tweak was the questionably named "Humane Coyote Getter." The Getter had originally been patented in 1934 as a commercial device "for killing fur-bearing animals." It was a spring-loaded tube gun weaponized with a live shell of poisonous cyanide. Trappers set the device by partially burying it, then covering with bait—a piece of scented wool. When a coyote bit at the wool, the device shot a stream of cyanide into the coyote's mouth. It was a cruel device.

Ad in black and green for Humane Coyote Getter. Image of coyote sniffing product. Image of product, a spike-looking thing with wings.

Diagram in black and white showing spike-like mechanism.

CDC researchers sought to refashion the "Getter" into a truly humane device: they rigged it with shells of an oral rabies vaccine, rather than cyanide. Unfortunately, testing showed that the altered device sometimes wounded the animal's mouth. Further, the oral vaccine failed to create an acceptable level of immunity to rabies. Thus, both the vaccine and the device were deemed failures.

Photo: Metal device with small hook.

Illustration showing how a Vac-Trap works. Green grass, syringe, arm, and trigger pan shown.

Another device tested by the CDC was the Vac-Trap. This trap was inspired by a common device used by trappers: an animal would spring the trap by stepping on a metal pressure plate, triggering the device to close on the leg of the animal. The researchers modified this design so that when an animal stepped on the trigger plate a syringe full of vaccine swung around and jabbed the animal's body. Vaccinated, the animal continued on its merry way.

Device

Both the Humane Coyote Getter and the Vac-Trap illustrate that the struggle against rabies has been twofold: first, to devise safe and effective vaccines and therapies; second, to develop effective methods to deliver those vaccines to vulnerable populations, whether human or animal.

More recently, attempts to stop the spread of rabies have focused on a different kind of hacked self-vaccination device: food laden with a recombinant virus. Scientists have modified the world's oldest vaccine—the vaccinia virus vaccine, used to eradicate smallpox—in order to create new rabies vaccines. These genetically engineered recombinant vaccines are created by inserting a harmless gene from the rabies virus into the vaccinia virus. The vaccinia acts as the delivery device, while the rabies gene triggers the production of antibodies.

Tubular container with small sticks inside of it.

When put into food, animals eat the new vaccine, orally vaccinating themselves. The method has been used successfully in some wild animal populations, and scientists hope to apply it in areas with abundant populations of non-vaccinated stray dogs, as those animals are a main cause of human rabies infection. Perhaps, with a bit of clever hacking, the same vaccine that eradicated smallpox will now help to eradicate rabies.

Rachel Anderson is a research and project assistant in the Division of Medicine and Science.

Explore the Antibody Initiative website to see the museum's rich collections, which span the entire history of antibody-based therapies and diagnostics. 

The Antibody Initiative was made possible through the generous support of Genentech.

 

Posted Date: 
Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 07:00
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Smith’s Patent Model of a Split Rim Pulley, ca 1871

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 111,582 issued to Scott A. Smith of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 7, 1871. The patent was for an improvement in pulleys of the type known as “half-pulleys.” Half-pulleys are constructed so that they can be separated into two pieces to facilitate installation and removal without disturbing other components on the shaft.

Mr. Smith’s claimed improvement dealt with the method for breaking the two halves of the rim apart and then securing them after installation on the shaft. He called for the pulley casting to have notches in the inside of the rim and hub where the halves separate. The resulting thin spots in the metal would produce rough edges when the casting was broken apart, and these edges would interlock and thus help keep the rims from overlapping when bolted back together.

The patent model is shown in the image. It is made of cast iron. All of the key elements of the patent are illustrated by the model. Diagrams showing the complete design can be found in the patent document online (/www.USPTO.gov).

Smith's illustrated astronomy : designed for the use of the public or common schools in the United States ; illustrated with numerous original diagrams / by Asa Smith ..

Smithsonian Libraries
Printed illustrated paper cover.

Also available online.

Numerous clippings on astronomical subjects pasted inside front cover and on frontispiece.

Typed on Burndy bookplate: Gift of Robert Futterman.

Elecresource

Sketchbook Page, Folio 64: Study after Bolognese Architecture and Monuments, Including Arch of San Domenico; Verso: Geometric Studies

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Recto: formerly cut apart, composition is now rejoined. At upper left, Ark in church of San Domenico, inscribed on plinth: S. DOMENICO BOLOGNA; and below drawing: monumento del quattro cento Bologna. Lower left, buildings along river Reno, Bologna, inscribed below: fabriche sul Reno Bologna. In lower corner: 64. At lower center, Loggia della Marcanzia, Bologna, inscribed below: la Mercanzia Gotico belisimo Bologna. At upper right, inscribed below kneeling angel with candelabrum, from Ark: Bologna monumento del quattro cento. In upper right corner "126". At center right, sketch of standing male in Renaissance dress with sword in scabbard, inscribed below: Bologna monumento del quat° cen. At lower right, sketches of Gothic architectural details and ornaments. On verso: page of geometric diagrams with explanations, in pen and dark brown ink. Freehand diagrams show how to use compass to construct certain form; Pythagorean table at lower left.

Sketch of stretched shell housing

Archives of American Art
1 sketch : ink ; 30 x 20 cm,

Ink sketch of design for stretched shell housing, with diagrams and inscriptions.

Sketch of Circuits Using One Battery

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Alfred Vail was a key partner to American inventor Samuel Morse and is credited with designing the machine and alpha code used in the creation of the electromagnetic telegraph.

For other materials relevant to Vail's work, see Negative Numbers SIA2011-0824 to SIA2011-0829. For letters between Vail, Morse, and first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, see Negative Numbers SIA2011-0814 to SIA2011-0823.

Alfred Vail's sketch is a diagram of one of his experiments. This diagram shows Vail's attempt to connect multiple circuits with one battery and one wire. At the bottom of the letter Samuel Morse has written: "This is Mr. Vail's arrangement. August 16th 1844."

Site plan for Wellfleet Housing Development, Bi-Nuclear "H" House, Wellfleet, Massachusetts

Archives of American Art
1 architectural drawing : diagram ; 22 x 26 cm.

Shlarbaum’s Patent Model of an Oscillating Steam Engine– ca 1863

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 39,756 issued to Hermann Shlarbaum of New York, New York on September 1, 1863. The patent was for an improvement in oscillating steam engines. An oscillating steam engine differs from a standard engine in that the steam cylinder is pivoted on the engine frame and oscillates up and down about the pivot as its connecting rod operates the crankshaft of the engine. In a standard engine, the cylinder is fixed in orientation, and the piston rod moves fore and aft within a crosshead which allows the connecting rod to pivot independently as the crankshaft revolves.

Shlarbaum did not claim his overall design as new. Others had patented very similar designs. His claim was for the unique design of the steam and exhaust valves for the engine. The claimed benefits of this design included simplicity and economy of manufacture, operation and maintenance. The inventor also claimed that his design avoided having lubricating oil in the pivot being overheated by high pressure steam. A search of available literature did not reveal any commercial use of the patent.

The patent model is constructed of cast iron and brass. All of the key elements of the patent are illustrated by the model to include the valve mechanism. A full description of the workings of the engine and diagrams showing the complete design of the patent can be found in the patent document online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, /www.uspto.gov.

Shimadzu Photo Recorder

National Museum of American History
Shimadzu manufactured this gas engine indicator. It is a photographic recorder with a four sided mirror for shutter and a drive with pulley and belt to an external motor. A sensing element is enclosed, but no description is available. Accompanying the indicator is a box with a wrench, two film holders and two cans of Kodak exposed film, extra film holder and mirror assembly. Additionally, there are two tool steel parts with short, knife edges, which are probably parts of the sensing element.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Seven Must-See New Museum Exhibits to Marvel at This Winter

Smithsonian Magazine

With a new season comes a new slate of museum exhibits designed to inspire, teach and delight visitors. Whether it’s a light display showing a museum campus in a new way, an anniversary celebrated through art and photographs or a collection devised by a legendary filmmaker, these seven exhibits are must-sees for this winter.

Winterlights; Newfields; Indianapolis, Indiana
Now through January 6, 2019

Image by Visit Indy. Winterlights brings a sparkling glow to Newfields and the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Museum. (original image)

Image by Visit Indy. Winterlights brings a sparkling glow to Newfields and the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Museum. (original image)

Image by Visit Indy. Winterlights brings a sparkling glow to Newfields and the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Museum. (original image)

Image by Visit Indy. Winterlights brings a sparkling glow to Newfields and the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Museum. (original image)

Image by Visit Indy. Winterlights brings a sparkling glow to Newfields and the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Museum. (original image)

Winterlights, the curated outdoor lighting spectacular, is back at Newfields in Indianapolis for a second year—but this time with a few additions. More than 1.5 million lights twinkle around guests this year, with a new Wintermarket and an updated and redesigned finale show. At last year’s inaugural edition, it's said that at least 46 people proposed to their significant others. Inside the Lilly Mansion on the Newfields property, guests will be treated to displays with hundreds of LED candles and origami butterflies. The new finale on the walk-through includes a digital snowstorm and an ice cave.

Museo del Prado 1819-2019. A Place of Recollection; Museo Nacional del Prado; Madrid, Spain
Now through March 10, 2019

María Isabel de Braganza, López Piquer. (Courtesy of the Prado)

In 2019, Spain’s famed Prado museum is celebrating 200 years since its founding. In total, the exhibit, titled A Place of Recollection, will feature 168 art pieces, plus a large number of additional documents, photos, maps and audiovisual installations. The show will not only look at the past two centuries of art and installations in the museum, but it will also explore the ways in which the museum has interacted with Spain and society at large. The layout will be broken into eight different periods of the museum’s history, spread throughout Halls A and B. Featured artists on display include Renoir, Manet, Chase, Sargent, Arikha, Pollock, Rosales, Saura and Picasso.

Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures; Kunsthistorisches Museum; Vienna, Austria
Now through April 28, 2019

Image by Courtesy of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. A view of the Spitzmaus exhibit. (original image)

Image by Courtesy of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. A view of the Spitzmaus exhibit. (original image)

Image by Courtesy of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. A view of the Spitzmaus exhibit. (original image)

Image by Rafaela Proell. Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf at the exhibit. (original image)

Filmmaker Wes Anderson and his partner, writer and illustrator Juman Malouf, have teamed up again for something a bit less cinematic than their usual, but no less impressive. The two have curated the art installation Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The exhibit includes 400 pieces that Anderson and Malouf selected from the overall collection at the museum, the majority of which they pulled out of storage just for the show. In fact, many of the items will be on display for the first time in the museum’s history. Among the treasured pieces in the exhibit are an ancient Egyptian ceramic bead necklace and an Indonesian carved wooden monkey.

Magritte & Dali; The Dali Museum; St. Petersburg, Florida
December 15, 2018, to May 19, 2019

Image by Banque d'lmages, ADAGP / Art Resource, NY. Rene Magritte [1898-1967]La Magie noire [Black Magic]. 1945 Oil on canvas, 79 x 59 cm; Inv. 10706. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium,Brussels 2018. C. Herscovici I Artists Rights Society [ARSI]. New York (original image)

Image by Herscovici / Art Resource, NY. Rene Magritte [1898-1967]L'ile au tresor (Treasure lsland). 1942 Oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm; Inv. 10708 Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium,Brussels 2018 C. Herscovic1 I Artists Rights Society IARSI. New York (original image)

Image by Banque d'lmages, ADAGP / Art Resource, NY. Rene Magritte (1898-1967]Dieu n·est pas un samt (God Is No Saint].ca. 1935-36 Oil on canvas, 67.2 x 43 cm. Inv. 11681 Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels 2018 C. Herscovic1 I Artists Rights Society (ARS]. New York (original image)

Image by Salvador Dali Museum. Salvador Dali. Old Age, Adolescence, Infancy (The Three Ages), 1940, Oil on canvas. Collection of The Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL [USA 2018 ©Salvador Dali, Fundaci6 Gala­ Salvador Dali, [Artists Rights Society]. 2018. (original image)

Image by Salvador Dali Museum. Salvador Dali. Portrait of Gala, c.1932, Oil on panel. Collection of The Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL [USA! 2018 ©Salvador Dali, Fundaci6 Gala-Salvador Dali, (Artists Rights Society}. 2018. (original image)

It’s a festival of surrealism at the Magritte & Dali exhibit in Florida’s Dali Museum. The exhibit draws together the two great minds, showcasing their work from the 1920s to the 1940s—the decades during which the two spent a great deal of time together and often displayed their work at the same exhibitions. This is the first exhibit of its kind to highlight the works of the two Surrealists, and to examine the shared themes in their paintings. Some of the Magritte pieces on display include Le Baiser [The Kiss] (1938), La Magie noire [Black Magic] (1945) and Dieu n’est pas un saint [God Is No Saint] (ca. 1935-36).

Gods in My Home: Chinese New Year with Ancestor Portraits and Deity Prints; Royal Ontario Museum; Toronto, Canada
January 26, 2019, to September 15, 2019

Image by Royal Ontario Museum. Unidentified artistAncestor Portrait of a Couple祖先像(夫婦)Qing dynasty, 1644–1911Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper138.4 × 77.5 cm ROM, 2018.46.1 (original image)

Image by Royal Ontario Museum. Portable Shrine for Housing Spirit Tablets祠堂Late 18th – early 19th centuryShanxi 山西Painted and gilded wood115 × 95 × 60 cmROM, 2009.72.1 (original image)

Image by Royal Ontario Museum. Unidentified artistAncestor Portrait of an Elderly woman祖先像Qing dynasty, 1644–1911Hanging scroll, ink and colour on silk172.5 × 96.5 cm ROM, 921.1.139 (original image)

Image by Royal Ontario Museum. The Dragon King God龍王之神19th–mid 20th Century Woodblock print, ink and colour on paper31 × 27.9 cmBeijing, 北京 ROM, 969.168.56 (original image)

Image by Royal Ontario Museum. Enjoy Music/Happiness Together 同樂會Republic of China,1912–1949Woodblock print, ink and colour on paper53.0 × 29.6 cm, eachYangliuqing, Tianjin 天津楊柳青ROM, a: 969.168.32, b: 969.168.33 (original image)

Image by Royal Ontario Museum. Unidentified artistZhong Kui (Demon Queller)鐘馗19th–mid 20th Century Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper220 × 106.5 cmROM, 921.32.23 (original image)

Image by Royal Ontario Museum. Military Door Gods with Battle-axes立斧門神19th–mid 20th Century Woodblock print and hand drawing 65.0 × 41.0 cm, each Yangwanfa 楊萬發, Liangping, Chongqing重慶梁平 ROM, a: 995.160.11.2, b: 995.160.12.1 (original image)

Image by Royal Ontario Museum. Lady Mouse’s Wedding 老鼠嫁女19th–mid 20th Century Woodblock print, ink and colour on paper52.5 × 34.2 cmJiajiang, Sichuan 四川夾江ROM, 969.168.22 (original image)

Celebrate the Chinese New Year in 2019 by exploring Gods in My Home, an exhibit of rare ancestral portraits and traditional prints honoring the occasion. The majority of the pieces in the exhibit have never been on display before; there are more than 100 items, dating back to the late Imperial period, that all speak to the customs and beliefs of Chinese culture. Nine large ancestral portraits that were commissioned by wealthy families are complemented by a selection of printed ancestral scrolls, something a not-so-well-off family could have afforded. For the traditional prints, these were often pasted onto walls and doors to ward off evil spirits and bless the home.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing; Bristol Museum and Art Gallery; Bristol, England
February 1, 2019, to May 6, 2019

Image by Creative Commons. The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. (original image)

Image by Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. An image from the da Vinci exhibit. (original image)

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing honors the artist for the 500th anniversary of his death at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. The showing is part of a larger exhibit across 12 venues throughout the United Kingdom, featuring a total of 144 da Vinci drawings. The Bristol Museum will have 12 of the drawings (as will each of the other venues), all specially picked to show the breadth of da Vinci’s career. The works have been selected to showcase da Vinci's wide-ranging interests and include painting and sculpture sketches, scientific drawings and engineering diagrams. The drawings on display all come from the Royal Collection Trust.

The Young Picasso – Blue and Rose Periods; Fondation Beyeler; Basel, Switzerland
February 3, 2019, to May 26, 2019

Image by Succession Picasso / 2018, ProLitteris, Zurich. PABLO PICASSO, ACROBATE ET JEUNE ARLEQUIN, 1905Gouache on cardboard, 105 x 76 cmPrivate collection (original image)

Image by Göteborg Konstmuseum. PABLO PICASSO, FAMILLE DE SALTIMBANQUES AVEC UN SINGE, 1905Gouache, watercolour and ink on cardboard, 104 x 75 cmGöteborg Konstmuseum, Purchase, 1922Succession Picasso / 2018, ProLitteris, Zurich (original image)

Image by RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris) / Mathieu Rabeau. PABLO PICASSO, AUTOPORTRAIT, 1901Oil on canvas, 81 x 60 cmMusée national Picasso – ParisSuccession Picasso / 2018, ProLitteris, Zurich (original image)

Image by The Cleveland Museum of Art. PABLO PICASSO, LA VIE, 1903Oil on canvas, 197 x 127.3 cm The Cleveland Museum of Art, Donation Hanna FundSuccession Picasso / ProLitteris, Zurich 2018 (original image)

For the first time in Europe, paintings and sculptures from Picasso’s formative years—1901 to 1906, known as the Blue and Rose periods—will be displayed together in one place in The Young Picasso. The exhibit will be laid out chronologically and will focus on his work with human figures. The first part will be the Blue period, when shades of blue dominated his work, which mostly explored deprivation and suffering in the people around him. From there, the exhibit pivots to the Rose period, during which time he moved to Paris; these works focus on circus performers. The exhibit has about 80 paintings and sculptures on view.

Set of Charts, Evans' Arithmetical Study

National Museum of American History
Around 1900 many American educators advocated the use of objects in teaching mathematics and the sciences. R. O. Evans Company of Chicago published this set of twenty chromolithographed charts. They were designed to apply the object method “to the entire subject of practical arithmetic.” The title chart shows a man in classical garb holding a diagram of the Pythagorean theorem and a pair of dividers, expounding to a child. Other instruments displayed include a pencil, a drawing pen, a magnetic compass, several geometric models, a globe, a telescope, two set squares, an hourglass, and one of Evans’s charts. Charts include extensive commentary for teachers. There are sheets entitled Counting and Writing Numbers, Reviews and Colors, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division,. Other charts discuss Fractions, Weights and Measures, the Metric System, and Mensuration (one chart considers the measurement of flat surfaces, another one 3-dimensional solids). There also are charts on Business Methods (3 charts), Lumber and Timber Measure,Surveying, Percentage, Commercial and Legal Forms, and Book Keeping. A variety of objects are shown. The paper, cloth-backed charts are held together at the top by a piece of fabric that is tacked to a wooden backing. This backing slides into an oak case decorated with machine-made molding and panels. This particular example of Evans’ Arithmetical Study was used at a school in New Hampshire.

Seller’s Patent Model of an Oscillating Steam Engine – ca 1872

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 127,928 issued to William Sellers of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 11, 1872. The patent was for improvements in oscillating steam engines. An oscillating steam engine differs from a standard engine in that the steam cylinder is pivoted on the engine frame and oscillates up and down about the pivot as its connecting rod operates the crankshaft of the engine. In a standard engine, the cylinder is fixed in orientation, and the piston rod is connected to a crosshead which moves fore and aft within a set of guides. The crosshead in turn is coupled via a pin to the connecting rod which allows it to pivot independently as the crankshaft revolves. One advantage of the oscillating cylinder design is the engine is relatively compact and occupies less space than a standard engine.

Other patents for oscillating engines with similar valve arrangements predated Sellers’ patent. He claimed the objectives of his invention were to improve the operation of the steam valve for an oscillating engine and to reduce the wear on the seals for the piston rod. In the image of the model the steam valve is the brass box on top of the cylinder. Sellers’ improvement in the valve design deals with the mechanism for controlling the timing of the steam cut-off in the valve. His improvement for the piston rod seal consists of a bearing placed in a sleeve which could be adjusted by a nut to compensate for wear of the rod. This can be seen in the rear center of the image.

Sellers was a prolific inventor, and his most notable work was in the area of standardized screw and bolt threads.

The patent model is made of brass and other metal and mounted on a wood base. It is highly detailed and illustrates all of the key details of the Sellers patent. The model was built as a working model to demonstrate the operation of the engine. A full description of the operation of the engine along with complete diagrams of the patent can be found in the patent document online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, /www.uspto.gov.

Screen Design: "Radio Active Guard House," Reverse Side

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Four panel screen on wheels. Two left panels form a gray and brown guard house with red roof, which is attached at right to black metal gate with red "danger" sign. This panel is attached at right to black panel with bunny head and stepped cut outs topped by red dome with red poles on either side. Small assembly diagrams in left, upper and lower margins.

Screen Design: "Radio Active Guard House"

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Four panel screen on wheels. At left a green panel with bunny head cut out and topped by red dome with red poles on either side is attached, at right, to metal screen with red rectangle in middle. The metal screen is attached at right to two sides of guard house: one is blue with glass panel in middle; other is yellow with window in middle. In left and right margins, graphite diagrams of assembly details.

Sciple's Patent Model of a Portable Steam Engine –1879

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 224,482 issued to Harry M Sciple of Selin's Grove, Pennsylvania on February 10, 1880. The patent was for a new and improved portable steam engine. Mr. Sciple's goals for his design were lightness, durability and low cost. He claimed his innovation was making the majority of the engine from only two castings. The first and largest was the base, steam cylinder, and steam valve. The second was the cylinder head combined with the crosshead guides. In the image of the model the steam valve is the horizontal cylinder on the side of the steam cylinder; and the crosshead and guides casting is the arch shape at the top. The piston rod is attached to the crosshead which can be seen across the arch. Another new design feature claimed by Mr. Sciple was the use of vee- shaped crosshead guides. Instead of the typical metal sliding on metal crosshead and guide design, he used rubber coated rollers attached to each end of the crosshead. The connecting rod is the inverted u-shaped hoop seen connected to a bar across the crosshead and descending on each side of the cylinder to the crankshaft. The eccentric gear is shown on the shaft just outside the base. The rod connected to it operates the steam valve via the crank arm shown.

Before the widespread use of electric motors, small high-speed steam engines such as the Sciple design were common for general light duty. Simple and dependable, such engines were cheap to build and easy to operate and maintain. They could be connected directly to pumps, generators, blowers and other machinery.

All of the key elements of the patent are illustrated in detail by the model. The patent model parts representing the large castings are made of lead. Other metal is used for the moving parts. Diagrams showing the complete design of the patent can be found in the patent document online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, /www.uspto.gov.
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