Enjoy a browse through Wisconsin 101’s collection of object histories. Click on the “Read More” button to view the full story and its accompanying related histories or explore the categories listed above each object history to learn more about certain themes, periods of time, and Wisconsin locales.

Read more about the article OBJECT HISTORY: “SMART” Banner by Dennis Nechvatal
“SMART” Banner by Dennis Nechvatal, Madison, WI, 1983. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society ID #2011.63.2

OBJECT HISTORY: “SMART” Banner by Dennis Nechvatal

“SMART” Banner by Dennis Nechvatal, Madison, WI, 1983. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society ID #2011.63.2 Not many people would expect that some of the most legendary music of the late twentieth and early twenty first century was made right here in…

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Read more about the article OBJECT HISTORY: The Harley-Davidson V-Twin Engine
“1909 Harley-Davidson V-twin motor." Courtesy of the Harley-Davidson Archives.

OBJECT HISTORY: The Harley-Davidson V-Twin Engine

“1909 Harley-Davidson V-twin motor." Courtesy of the Harley-Davidson Archives. When Edward Pennington unveiled the first prototype for what he deemed the “motorcycle” in 1895, inspiration struck the minds of two Milwaukee natives, William Harley and Arthur Davidson. Joined by Arthur’s brother, Walter,…

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Read more about the article OBJECT HISTORY: The 1904 Kohler “Armeda” Toilet
Drawing of the Kohler Company's "Armeda" toilet. Courtesy of the Kohler Co. Archives.

OBJECT HISTORY: The 1904 Kohler “Armeda” Toilet

By the year 1904, when the “Armeda” toilet pictured here appeared in the Kohler Company’s product catalogue, Sheboygan-based Kohler had become one of the largest makers of bathroom furnishings in the United States. Even at this early date in its history, as…

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Read more about the article OBJECT HISTORY: Council Oak Tree Bench
The Historic Council Oak Tree Bench housed in the McIntyre Library on UW Eau Claire's campus. Photo courtesy of Greg Kocken.

OBJECT HISTORY: Council Oak Tree Bench

Dating from the early 1800’s, the Council Oak Tree, planted in Eau Claire stood for over 150 years with little to no disturbance. However, on July 10, 1966, a summer storm blew through the city and lightning struck the tree, leaving a…

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Read more about the article OBJECT HISTORY: Neenah Foundry Manhole Cover
City of Madison Manhole Cover. Photo courtesy of Keith Kaziak, 2020.

OBJECT HISTORY: Neenah Foundry Manhole Cover

Since opening in 1904, the Neenah Foundry has earned a worldwide reputation for producing manhole covers. Manhole covers are removable lids fitted for tunnels large enough for people to access underground sewer and storm water systems. Made from strong and long-lasting cast…

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