The 2018 EAIA Annual Meeting Will Be Wednesday, May 23rd thru Saturday, May 26th, 2018 – Save the Dates!
Come and join us at the Early American Industries Association’s 85th Anniversary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and we’ll celebrate in style as we experience the industrial and cultural history of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and the equally fascinating history of the Moravians. Formed in 1457, the Moravian Church, or Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren), was established by followers of John Hus, a Czech philosopher and reformer. This was 60 years before Martin Luther began his reformation and 100 years before the establishment of the Anglican Church. In the early 1700’s, religious persecution of non-Catholics increased throughout much of Europe, so the Moravians sent a group of their believers as missionaries to North America in 1735. They came as part of General Oglethorpe’s philanthropic venture to establish a colony in what is now the state of Georgia. Shortly after their arrival in Georgia the Moravians experienced hostility from neighbors and government officials who looked askance at their pacifism and their friendliness with local Cherokees and enslaved African-Americans. After several years of this hostility and conflict, the Moravians decided to leave Georgia and find another place to practice their religion and perform their missionary work.
In the late spring of 1740, a weary group of Moravian missionaries from Georgia arrived in Pennsylvania as “working guests” of George Whitefield, a British cleric conducting his own missionary work in the New World. Sailing to Philadelphia in Whitefield’s sloop, The Savannah, the Moravians felt they’d found a place where they could practice their faith. Whitefield hired the Moravians to construct a school on land he owned in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where he intended to educate the orphan children of slaves. But, an argument with Whitefield over religious doctrine caused the Moravians to leave Nazareth a short time later and establish the nearby town of Bethlehem. Not long after the Moravians left Nazareth, Whitefield fell on hard times and the hard-working Moravians bought Nazareth and the surrounding 5000 acres of land from him. The original structure the Moravians built for Whitefield in Nazareth, served the Moravian community through the centuries as a place of worship, a boarding school for Moravian girls, a nursery for the children of missionaries, and as the Moravian Theological Seminary. It is still there and now houses the Moravian Historical society.
The communal societies of Bethlehem and Nazareth became closely linked in their agricultural and industrial economy with Bethlehem emerging as the center of the Moravian communal craft economy and missionary activity in North America. Other settlement congregations were established in Pennsylvania, New Jersey New York, and Maryland. All these churches and communities of believers were considered frontier centers for the spread of the gospel, particularly in mission to unchurched European settlers and the Native Americans. Eventually, the Moravian Bishop at Bethlehem, Augustus Spangenberg, led a party that surveyed a 100,000-acre tract of land in North Carolina, which came to be known as Wachau after an Austrian estate of Count Zinzendorf the head of the Moravian Church. The name, later anglicized to Wachovia, became the center of growth for the church in that region. Bethabara, Bethania and Salem (now Winston-Salem) were the first Moravian settlements in North Carolina. In 1857 the two American provinces, North and South, became largely independent and set about expansion. Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and Winston-Salem in North Carolina became the headquarters of the two provinces (North and South). You can learn a bit more about the still very active Moravian Church’s history and its current mission work at http://www.moravian.org/the-moravian-church/history/.
During our 2018 Annual Meeting you will have the opportunity to learn about the Moravians and their craft based communal economy that was set up to support their missions. Many of the original buildings from the mid 18th century are still present and we’ll get to see those with private tours. The Moravian Archives in Bethlehem and the Moravian Historical Society Museum in Nazareth will provide you with a fascinating glimpse of Moravian history, culture and industry. As a communal society, the Moravians kept extensive written records of all of their activities including fabulous architectural drawings, maps, and paintings. They built wonderful limestone buildings, and established America’s first industrial park known at the “Colonial Industrial Quarter” utilizing water power from Monocacy Creek.
But, that’s not all. There’s so much to see and do, you’ll want to come back for another visit to this treasure trove of American industrial history. Here are some of the highlights of our meeting:
We’re planning a special event for Wednesday evening, May 26th at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem just a couple of miles from our hotel. The Moravians wrote down everything and kept extensive records. The Archives will be open on Wednesday evening with a special display. It will include examples of their written records from Moravian craftsmen, beautiful hand painted and lettered architectural drawings as well as other Moravian artifacts. It will be well worth the effort to get to Bethlehem in time to see this display. ( http://www.moravianchurcharchives.org/ )
The National Museum of Industrial History will host our traditional Ice Cream Social on Thursday night. The museum which opened in the summer of 2016 is a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum located in the old Bethlehem Steel factory complex. They’re closing the museum to the public just for us on Thursday evening so we’ll have the museum to ourselves. We can enjoy the exhibits at our leisure, interact with the museum staff, enjoy our traditional ice cream social and we’ll hold our “Whatsit’s Session in the museum’s auditorium. The museum houses many of the original machines from the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia as well as an exhibit on the silk industry in the Lehigh Valley. ( http://nmih.org/)
Martin Guitar has been making guitars in Nazareth, PA since 1833. You’ll have a behind the scenes tour of the factory and see their wonderful museum. martin guitar. (https://www.martinguitar.com/)
You’ll have a chance to visit the Moravian Historical Society museum in Nazareth and take a walking architecture tour of Nazareth if you wish. (http://www.moravianhistoricalsociety.org/)
The Pennsylvania Long Rifle Museum is in Jacobsburg, PA, is just a few miles from Bethlehem. This wonderful little museum houses more than 100 historic arms on either permanent display or in rotating, topical exhibits. Displays feature Henry firearms dating from the American Fur Trade Era, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the American West, and the early 20th century. Most of the firearms were made by several generations of the Henry family. The museum is located on the Henry homestead and the family home will be open for our group to tour as well. (http://www.jacobsburghistory.com/society-collections/pennsylvania-longrifle-museum/)
I could go on and on. We’ll visit the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts as part of our tour in Bethlehem and get a behind the scenes tour of their wonderful dollhouse collection. (https://historicbethlehem.org/?historic-site=kemerer-museum-of-decorative-arts)
We’ll visit the Moravian Historical Society Museum in Nazareth, and you will have the opportunity to take a walking architectural tour of Nazareth as well. We’ll have a guided tour of the Bethlehem Steel Stacks complex and learn more about this once huge company and its history in the Lehigh Valley.
The Fiber Interest Group is already making plans for a special project and demonstration during the meeting. We’ll tailgate on Wednesday afternoon, and have our usual tool sales on Saturday morning. Mike Urness and Sara Holmes from The Great Planes Trading Company will put on an antique tool auction on Friday night at the hotel. (http://www.greatplanestrading.com) Mike has a collection of Pennsylvania made tools as well as a fine collection of watch and clock maker’s tools that he will put in the auction along with a good selection of other antique tools. We’ll hold the Saturday morning tool sales in the Moravian Industrial Quarter and at the same time there will be an opportunity to learn how to make Moravian stars, hand dip some candles, visit the blacksmith shop and learn about Moravian beer making from a “beer historian”. Their will be an opportunity to have a sample! We’ll set up our displays in the same area on Saturday morning. The theme for our member displays is “Tools that Measure and Tools that Cut”. So get creative and show us your measuring and cutting tools from rules to scissors, to micrometers, to chisels, planes, knives, tape measures, lumber scales, calipers, surveying chains, speed indicators, etc. Have some fun and teach us all a bit more about those interesting tools in your collection. We’re really hoping to see some displays from the Fiber Interest Group that fit this theme.
On Saturday afternoon Henry Disston Jr. a long time EAIA member will give us a lecture on the history of the Disston Saw Company and end his lecture by playing his musical saw.
We’ll end our meeting with our always fun Silent Auction, Banquet and Annual Meeting. And to top it all off, next year we’ll will celebrate EAIA’s 85th anniversary! So, we’ll have some fun and maybe a few surprises as we celebrate that milestone.
We’ll be based at the Bethlehem Comfort Suites University at 120 West 3rd Street in Bethlehem. (http://www.comfortsuitesbethlehem.com/ ) The room rate will be $119/ night and will be good for three days prior to and 3 days after our meeting. The meeting hosts are David Lauer, David Pollak, and Paul and Eileen Van Pernis. So, remember to put the dates May 23rd through May 26th, 2018 on your calendar, and we’ll look forward to seeing you next May! Look for more information in upcoming issues of Shavings and here on the EAIA website.
by Paul Van Pernis