General Electric Museum.

Museum of Erie GE History (Gone)

Field review by the editors.

Erie, Pennsylvania

For eighty years the GE plant just outside of Erie built trolley equipment and electric drive motors for locomotives and tanks. Its museum is run by its retirees, the "GE Senior Elfuns," who were hanging out in the model train room when we arrived, but appear happy to bend the ear of anyone who shows up.

The museum's artifacts are roughly split between the impressively-technical and the audaciously impractical, the typical schizo output of any arm of a business as old and big as General Electric. You'll see a model of a motorized wheel frame and torque tube -- and an exhibit of the pen sets, wallets, and pill boxes given to employees at company picnics. There's a DC-300 adjustable speed drive -- and the Bicentennial brass bell made in the foundry and pattern shop.

Train painting.

Two of our favorite items were a set of refrigerator salt and pepper shakers that were given to anyone who bought an early 1930s GE refrigerator, and the "Golden Spike" awarded to GE for its efforts to advertise railroads. One of the Senior Elfuns leaned over our shoulders as we looked at the spike and whispered, "I don't think it's real gold."

Museum of Erie GE History

April 2012: closed until further notice.

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