G. Felsenthal & Sons, est. 1898

Museum Artifact: Altitude Correction Computer, c. 1945

Made By: G. Felsenthal & Sons, 4100 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL

“No sign posts on the mountains . . . no concrete highways in the soup . . . no rocky peak so kind it steps aside to let a plane go by. Yet, with the navigational instruments precision made by Felsenthal, in Felsenthal Plastics,

S&C Electric Company, est. 1911

Museum Artifact: SM-4 Power Fuse Refill Unit, 1960s

Made By: S&C Electric Co., 6601 N. Ridge Blvd., Chicago, IL

In 2012, shortly after Chicago’s S&C Electric Company marked its 100th anniversary, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) awarded the business special recognition for one of the “milestone” achievements in electrical engineering history—the 1909 invention of the liquid power fuse. During a special dedication ceremony at S&C’s Rogers Park headquarters,

Denoyer-Geppert Company, est. 1916

Museum Artifact: Denoyer-Geppert Cartocraft Globe, 1938

Made By: Denoyer-Geppert Company, 5235 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL

“You now have one of the best globes made,” L.P. Denoyer wrote in the preface to his 1931 guide book, A Teacher’s Manual for Cartocraft Globes, “but we are not satisfied with simply having made the sale, for we want you to get the greatest possible value from your purchase.”

Well,

Felt & Tarrant MFG Co. / Comptometer, est. 1887

Museum Artifact: Comptometer Calculating Machine, Model H, 1920s

Made by: Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company, 1733 N. Paulina St., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Crane Company, est. 1855

Museum Artifact: Crane Co. 75th Anniversary Coin ft. R. T. Crane, 1930

Made By: Crane Company, 4100 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

DeVry Corporation, est. 1913

Museum Artifact: DeVry 16mm Movie Camera, 1929

Made By: DeVry Corp / QRS-DeVry Corp., 1111 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Eugene Dietzgen Co., est. 1885

Museum Artifact: No. 2745 Handy Pen-Filling Ink Stand, c. 1930

Made By: Eugene Dietzgen Co., 990 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Page Boiler Company, est. 1905

Museum Artifact: Chicago Stadium Boiler Room Blueprint, c. 1940s

Made By: Page Boiler Company, 815-819 W. Webster Avenue, Chicago, IL

In 2015, the Page Boiler Company shut down its last Chicago plant at 2348 N. Damen Avenue in Bucktown, and I guess I can say I attended the funeral.

After 110 years of designing, building, installing and repairing the finest water-tube boilers in the Midwest,

Airguide Instrument Co., est. 1930

Museum Artifact: No. 36 Field Glasses, c. 1940s

Made by: Airguide Instrument Co. / Fee & Stemwedel, Inc, 2210 W. Wabansia Ave.

As an avid birdwatcher and lifelong appreciator of faraway objects, in general, I can’t help but have a soft spot for these well traveled Airguide field glasses. This particular pair likely dates from the late 1940s, when chickadees still listened to jazz and goldfinches feared Communism.

W. M. Welch Scientific Company, est. 1906

Museum Artifact: Bakelite Galvanometer, 1960s

Made By: W. M. Welch Scientific Co., 1515 N. Sedgwick St., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Baby Calculator Sales Co., est. 1924

Museum Artifact: Baby Calculator, c. 1928

Made By: Baby Calculator Sales Co. / Calculator Machine Company, 318 N. Pine Street, Chicago, IL

Just about everybody knows about “The Day the Music Died”—the plane crash on February 3, 1959, that killed rock n’ roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. But did you know there was a much deadlier airline crash in the U.S.

The Detect-O-Ray Company, est. 1940

Museum Artifact: Detect-O-Ray Photo-Electric Switch, 1940s

Made By: Detect-O-Ray Company, 2622 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL

Its name sounds like a comic-book doomsday device and it looks more than a little like an evil robot owl, but sadly, the Detect-O-Ray is neither one of those things. In fact, this intimidating technological marvel of the World War II era was briefly marketed—of all places—in the pages of the F.A.O.

Victor X-Ray Corporation, est. 1893

Museum Artifact: Victor Interval Timer, 1920s

Made By: Victor X-Ray Corporation, 2012 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL

As company names go, the word “Victor” is so ubiquitous—particularly in early 20th century circles—that it basically cancels out the concept of brand recognition. The most famous Victor of the era, the Victor Talking Machine Company of New Jersey (est. 1901), was at least smart enough to distinguish itself with an iconic logo—“His Master’s Voice”

Victor Adding Machine Co., est. 1918

Museum Artifact: Victor Adding Machine – 600 Series, c. 1939

Made By: Victor Adding Machine Company, 3900 N. Rockwell St., Chicago, IL

The story of the Victor Adding Machine begins—ironically enough—with a miscalculation. Or at least, a misunderstanding. Some might even go as far as to call it a bamboozling.

In the summer of 1918, according to lore, a salesman came to the door of the Buehler Bros.