Milwaukee’s most significant engineering marvels will be on display at the Grohmann Museum during the “Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee” exhibition Sept. 6–Dec. 22, 2019.  

Whether it’s typing on a QWERTY keyboard, riding a motorcycle, adjusting the thermostat, or driving a boat with an outboard motor, we have all been influenced by a Milwaukee engineer/inventor. From household names like the Sawzall, to more arcane developments like DESCO’s diving apparatus, “Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee” seeks to highlight not only Milwaukee-born equipment and machinery, but also the engineers who created them.  

Thomas Fehring, engineer and author of “Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee,” serves as guest curator of this exhibition which will feature Nash automobiles, Flying Merkel motorcycles, Evinrude outboards, Johnson Controls environmental systems, Master Lock locks, and Stereo Realist cameras. These are only a few of the machines in this one-of-a-kind exhibit filled with one-of-a-kind inventions from companies including:  

  • A.O. Smith/Instructive Toy Co.
  • Allen-Bradley/Rockwell
  • Allis-Chalmers
  • Briggs & Stratton/Strattec
  • Bucyrus-Erie/Caterpillar
  • Delta Mfg. Co./Delta Specialty
  • Evinrude
  • Filer & Stowell
  • Harley-Davidson
  • Johnson Controls/Globe-Union
  • Ladish
  • Master Lock
  • Merkel
  • Milwaukee Electric Tool
  • Nash/Seaman Body
  • Pawling & Harnischfeger/Komatsu
  • Rexnord/Falk/Nordberg
  • Schwalbach’s Star Clock Co.
  • Sholes & Glidden Walthers (Milwaukee Road)
  • Waukesha Engine/GE Power
  • David White Co./Stereo Realist
  • Wisconsin Electric/We-Energies/TMER&L Co.

The exhibition opens Friday, Sept. 6 with free admission and a presentation by the curator at 7 p.m. The Grohmann Museum is located at 1000 N. Broadway in downtown Milwaukee. Museum admission is only $5 for adults; $3 for students and seniors; and free for children under 12.  

The Grohmann Museum is home to more than 1,400 paintings and sculptures dating from 1580 to the present. They reflect a variety of artistic styles and subjects that document the evolution of organized work: from farming and mining to trades such as glassblowing and seaweed gathering. The Grohmann Museum welcomes visitors to three floors of galleries where a core collection is displayed as well as themed exhibitions. The museum is owned by MSOE, an independent university with about 2,800 students. MSOE offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the engineering, business, mathematics and nursing fields.