Library Archives

9 Posts authored by: Lindsay Bastian

With the health fair in full swing, we thought this would be the perfect time for a lighthearted post about one of the stranger artifacts in our collections.  This is Davis and Kidder’s Patent Magneto-Electric Machine, a hugely popular (but largely ineffective) medical device, popular in the late-nineteenth century.


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Originally patented by Davis and Kidder in 1854, this particular Patent Magneto-Electric Machine may be dated to the late nineteenth century.  Ours is a later model, as the magnet is painted black and the rollers are covered with yellow felt (in early models, both were red).  This device was one of many products to appear between 1850 and 1930, promising to cure a multitude of afflictions and diseases through the power of electricity (electropathy). 

Basically this machine produces a mild alternating current via two solenoids spinning against the poles of a magnet.  The strength of the current depends on how fast the operator would crank the machine, and through the handles, the patient would supposedly feel a slight tingling sensation.  These nineteenth century electrical devices have since been discredited and are often categorized with phrenology and patent medicines.

Happy Throwback Thursday, MSOE!

In the true spirit of the Throwback Thursday trend, here is a picture of our beloved Roscoe Raider from 1993.  Much to the relief of Roscoe fans today, he is not sporting fluorescent colors, acid-washed jeans, or slouch socks (although, admittedly, that would be mega radical).

MSOE officially became the ‘Raiders’ in 1993, after a committee of students, staff, and faculty voted on their favorite nickname for the school.  Roscoe was later chosen from a pool of sketch submissions from MSOE associates. Originally, he sported a red coat and blue pants. Today he wears a tasteful ensemble of a red coat and forest green pants.

Scroll down for the article from Ingenium (September 1993) which describes the decision process. The black and white image of Roscoe is the one from the front page mentioned in the article.

Later, Dudes!


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Today’s Throwback Thursday comes from a 1918 issue of Electroforce—a publication which included articles written by area electrical engineers and news from the School of Engineering of Milwaukee. 


The first female teacher hired by the School of Engineering was Esther H. Shapiro.  She was hired to teach math after receiving her B.A. in mathematics and a teaching certificate from the University of Wisconsin. Esther H. Shapiro taught at the School of Engineering from 1918 until 1923.


She was very active in Milwaukee area Jewish women’s organizations, and her papers are housed at the Jewish Museum of Milwaukee.



Have you seen a lot of faculty or staff wearing red or orange this week?

The tradition of the Orangemen (or Fir Darrig)— faculty and staff ‘disrupting’ the St. Pat’s festivities— dates back to the mid-1960s when a group of faculty members got together to ‘get back’ at the mischievous St. Pat and his court.


The tradition of St. Pat’s has seen some ups and downs over the years, but it was revived in the late 1980s as the lighthearted celebration we know today.


This flyer (distributed to faculty and staff in 1991) succinctly describes the evolution of St. Pat’s week here at MSOE.


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Today’s Throwback Thursday comes from the March 1987 issue of the Ingenium (Volume 8, number 3, page 9). Use these engineering horoscopes to predict your potential for good luck next week during the St. Pat’s Festivities!


…And stay tuned: we’re posting a different St. Pat’s image from the Archives every day next week!


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This week’s Throwback Thursday comes from the 1920 issue of the EMF Yearbook. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we have chosen a woeful tale of star-crossed love depicted through mathematical operations.


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This week’s Throwback Thursday is a photograph from the Wonders of Electricity exhibition. This particular photograph is from circa 1932 (before the School of Engineering of Milwaukee changed its name to Milwaukee School of Engineering).


Wonders of Electricity was a demonstration put on by MSOE faculty and students from the mid-1920s to 1950. The show was intended to educate and entertain audiences with electrically-themed experiments. It was featured at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1935, the Wisconsin Centennial State Fair in 1948, and a traveling version of the show visited area high schools during the later years.


Show features included a giant Tesla coil, electromagnets, a ‘stroboscope’ (strobe light), a black light, and experiments in wireless telegraphy.


We have several photographs and pamphlets from the Wonders of Electricity on display in the Library in the case near the stairs. There is also a small online collection of documents related to the show, which may be found here:

In November and December 1955, MSOE had a shiny new IBM computer on display. In this photograph, students watch as a supervising customer service engineer from IBM demonstrates the new machine.

(From: Bulletin Relay, January 1956, Volume 8, Number 2, Page 4.)

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Unpredictable extremes are somewhat common during the month of January.  In the March 1919 issue of Electroforce, a lack of snowfall during January was addressed-- only half-an-inch, compared to 51 inches in 1918.


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