At the Heart of Progress: Coal, Iron, and Steam since 1750 - Industrial Imagery from the John P. Eckblad Collection

January 24 - May 17, 2009

 



 

Introductory wall text

 
The print collection of John P. Eckblad allows us to explore the progress of industry over the last two and a half centuries. At the heart of that progress lies the trio of coal, iron, and steam.
 
Coal made possible the mass-production of iron, and iron began to replace wood and stone in construction. Iron also made the machines, fueled by coal and powered by steam, that transformed manufacturing and transportation. Among other things, steam engines pumped water out of the coal mines and hoisted coal to the surface.
 
Coal fueled everything from cooking stoves to battleships, and for almost a century coal gas provided the best available lighting for homes, factories, and city streets. Even today much of our electricity comes from generators powered by coal-fueled steam turbines.
 
In 2009 we continue to depend on the benefits of industrial progress, even as its costs, in pollution and global warming, become more obvious. But humans have always been aware that industrial progress had both a bright and a dark side. In this exhibition you can see how generations of artists have looked at both.
 
--Timothy A. Riggs
 
 

 
 
The print collection of John P. Eckblad allows us to explore the progress of industry over the last two and a half centuries. At the heart of that progress lies the trio of coal, iron, and steam.
 
Coal made possible the mass-production of iron, and iron began to replace wood and stone in construction. Iron also made the machines, fueled by coal and powered by steam, that transformed manufacturing and transportation. Among other things, steam engines pumped water out of the coal mines and hoisted coal to the surface.
 
Coal fueled everything from cooking stoves to battleships, and for almost a century coal gas provided the best available lighting for homes, factories, and city streets. Even today much of our electricity comes from generators powered by coal-fueled steam turbines.
 
In 2009 we continue to depend on the benefits of industrial progress, even as its costs, in pollution and global warming, become more obvious. But humans have always been aware that industrial progress had both a bright and a dark side. In this exhibition you can see how generations of artists have looked at both.
 
--Timothy A. Riggs

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