OBJECT HISTORY: Le Maire Sundial

The Le Maire Sundial is a rare example of a mid-18th century French sundial (cadran solaire) compass (boussole). It was found near Green Bay in 1902 by a local antiquities collector, Frank Duchateau. The sundial is broken, missing its glass compass cover as well as the back of its gnomon holder. Located on the front surface,…

OBJECT HISTORY: Employers Mutual Audiometer

This Maico Audiometer was one of many devices used by health and safety consultants of the Employers Mutual Liability Insurance Company of Wisconsin throughout the mid-to-late 1960s. Employers Mutual was the very first workers compensation insurance company in the United States. The company was founded in Wausau, Wisconsin, in 1911 shortly after the nation’s first workers compensation law was…

OBJECT HISTORY: Vacuum

People in the early 20th century witnessed the invention of all kinds of household tools we take for granted today, such as the vacuum cleaner, laundry machine, and refrigerator. This is a manual vacuum cleaner from 1911 at the Wisconsin Historical Museum. This small upright vacuum was designed to be operated by hand and easy…

OBJECT HISTORY: The SS Meteor

The SS Meteor was launched as the SS Frank Rockefeller in Superior, Wisconsin by the American Steel Barge Company in 1896. The last remaining of only 44 “whaleback” ships ever built, she was designed by a Scottish immigrant named Alexander McDougall. She is 380 feet long, 45 feet wide and 26 feet deep. You may notice that the SS Meteor looks somewhat different…