North Point Lighthouse Friends, Inc.
Press Release

May 9 – Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee Lecture at North Point Lighthouse

The lecture will be based on Thomas H. Fehring's recent book, The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee.

By - May 1st, 2018 10:08 am
May 9 - Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee Lecture at North Point Lighthouse

May 9 – Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee Lecture at North Point Lighthouse

Milwaukee, WI, April 30, 2018 – The North Point Lighthouse and Museum is pleased to announce its May lecture, “The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee,” Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 7-8:30 p.m. at the lighthouse, presented by author and historian Thomas H. Fehring. The lecture will be based on Fehring’s recent book, The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee.

In his talk, Fehring will tell the story of innovation and enterprise creation in Milwaukee during the Century of Progress—the hundred years following the end of U.S. Civil War. It was a remarkable era. Milwaukee was one of the principal centers of industrial innovation in the United States and became known as “the Machine Shop of the World.”

“Until The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, the stories of these innovations and the men behind them had been told largely in fragmentary fashion—an article here, a scholarly reference there,” noted Milwaukee writer and historian John Gurda. “Tom Fehring has assembled the entire cast of characters in a single book that is a testament to talent, an ode to ingenuity and a singular contribution to the history of American industry.”

Fehring will focus his presentation on the early industries that were located adjacent to, or near the Milwaukee River. Among other companies, he will discuss innovations by:

  • Christopher Latham Sholes and his typewriter
  • James Paris Lee and his breach-loading firearm
  • MMSD’s Milwaukee River ‘flushing station,’ now known as the Collectivo coffeeshop
  • Mathias Schwalbach’s STAR Clock Company
  • The East Wells Power Plant of We Energies
  • Christensen Engineering and the innovations of Niles Christensen
  • Globe Union, Centralab and Jack Kilby’s development of the microchip
  • Delta Manufacturing, the American Girl typewriter, and woodworking tools

Thomas, who worked as an engineer for We Energies for most of his career, is the chairman of the history and heritage committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The lecture begins at 7 p.m. General admission is $10 and $5 for seniors and students with an ID. Lighthouse members are free. Complimentary beverages will be provided by Good City Brewing. Parking is available on Wahl Avenue and the Lake Park public lot just north of the lighthouse.

About The Lectures at the Lighthouse Series

The Lectures at the Lighthouse series runs from January through November and features prominent historians, authors and scholars who discuss various topics and fascinating stories related to Milwaukee and Great Lakes maritime history. Lectures are open to the public and held at the lighthouse museum located at 2650 N. Wahl Avenue in Milwaukee’s historic Lake Park. Landmark Credit Union is sponsoring the 2018 lecture series.

Visit to learn more about the 2018 lecture schedule, the speakers and their topics.

About North Point Lighthouse

The North Point Lighthouse and Museum, located at 2650 N. Wahl Avenue within historic Lake Park, is a Milwaukee maritime treasure. Each year, thousands of visitors from the surrounding community, region and around the world experience its beauty, history and charm. Built in 1888, the lighthouse tower and keepers quarters are open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. throughout the year, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the summer. Visitors can experience a maritime museum featuring exhibits, artifacts and stories, and climb the 74-ft. tower. The lighthouse is also available for private events. The lighthouse has been preserved and restored as a maritime museum through the efforts of the North Point Lighthouse Friends, Inc. and has been open for public tours, visits and events since 2007. The mission of the North Point Lighthouse Friends, Inc. is to preserve the North Point Light Station, inspire appreciation of its importance in Wisconsin maritime history and promote its use consistent with the character of Lake Park and the surrounding neighborhood.

For admission fees and public hours, visit

For information about lectures, tours and events, contact Sue Grzeca, 414-332-6754 or

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