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'Made in Washington County' exhibit kicks off Friday at the Miller House

June 19, 2013

“Made in Washington County: Our Rich Industrial Heritage,” an exhibit honoring local industry, past and present, showing local patent ingenuity and representing an employment base of thousands opens Friday with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m.

The Miller House, at 135 W. Washington St., Hagerstown, home of the Washington County Historical Society, will host the exhibit through Saturday, July 27.

“We hear much about the large industrial concerns which have disappeared from the Washington County industrial scene ... Fairchild, Moller, London Fog, all to be part of the exhibit ... yet the county retains a rich industrial manufacturing base,” said Bob Savitt, historical society vice president, who has been leading the creation of the exhibit.  “Many longstanding enterprises still operate and thrive.”

Through a combination of ingenuity, vision and adaptability, more than 30 firms have successfully operated in Washington County for more than 50 years. Using historic slides, photos, artifacts, scale models and documents, the exhibit brings to life Washington County’s rich industrial heritage.

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Examples of local patents that solved nationwide problems: Metal was in short supply during World War II and could not be spared for domestic items such as furniture.  Donovan Beachley developed and patented a spring design that required no metal.  Stock troughs in the late 1800s would often break in the winter under the pressure of expanding ice. In 1899, Henry C. Foltz designed and patented a rounded trough to solve the problem. In the early 1900s, J. Vincent Jamison developed a line of large, insulated doors for cold storage.

Other firms represented within the exhibit include: Duvinage, Steffey and Findlay, Berwick Offray (Maryland Ribbon), Hagerstown Bookbinding and Printing, Crawford Bicycles and Automobiles, Porter Chemical Co., Holcim (Security Cement and Lime), Redland/Cushwa Brick, Volvo/Mack Trucks, Brandt Cabinet Works, Hagerstown Shoe Co., Pangborn Corp., Victor Products, Statton Furniture, Updegraff and Son, Western Maryland Railway, Hagerstown Foundry, Danzer Metal, Clockmakers and Silversmiths.

The exhibit will be open during regular hours of the Miller House Museum, Wednesday through Friday, from 1 to 4 p.m. 

It is recommended that visitors call 301-797-8782 before visiting to make sure that staff or volunteers are available to conduct tours.

Saturday group tours can be arranged by appointment. Admission costs $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, and is free for those ages 14 and younger. 

For more information, go to www.washcomdhistoricalsociety.org.

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