The New England Wireless and Steam Museum is an electrical and mechanical engineering museum emphasizing the beginnings of radio and steam power. The museum honors engineers who achieved greatness and served the public good by analyzing and solving tough engineering problems. The museum is both archival and educational.
In 1875 Rhode Island was the world center of the stationary steam industry. According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) the New England Wireless and Steam Museum has the finest collection of Rhode Island made engines, together with the finest collection of original stationary steam engine drawings.
This museum preserves the original Massie coastal wireless station, which was moved from Point Judith, Rhode Island. This station, built in 1907 to communicate with marine shipping, is the oldest surviving, originally equipped wireless station anywhere. It symbolizes the very start of the electronics industry–a Plymouth Rock of the radio, TV, cellphone, satcom, Internet, computer, CATscan and all the other marvelous creations of electrical engineering. The significance of the Massie station is enormous.
The museum’s assembly hall is an 1822 neo-classic New England meeting house which, like the Massie station, was moved here to be saved from demolition. This charming building is available for weddings, christenings, club functions, corporate presentations, and other events.
The museum shows rare early radio and steam apparatus–much in working order. Keeping these things working and demonstrating them is part of our mission.
Just a few of the remarkable things here
- Armington & Sims steam engines, the favorite of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.
- A Marconi distress transmitter, the same as Titanic’s.
- A Marconi 1900 coherer and jigger.
- The oldest equipped radio station in the world.
- The only George H. Corliss steam engine under steam today.
- An Edison 1882 diode – the first of all radio tubes.
- The original steam engines of Rhode Island manufacturers.
- An 1881 Professor Dolbear radio receiver. It still works.
- The first commercial transistor.
- A museum in a National Historic District and listed in the National Register of Historic Buildings.
- ASME designated International Historic Site.
This museum is great because it reminds visitors of a proud phase of history when manufacturing and industry flourished. It gives well deserved credit and honor to the inventors and leaders who made this happen.