Velocipede Time Machine Celebrates ‘The Nation of Inventors’ at Hagley Museum
Matthew Jaster, Senior Editor
Our friends at Modvic, LLC are at it again — taking their steampunk ingenuity and creating a permanent sculpture that explores the rich, vibrant history of American innovation. Guests who visit the new exhibition ‘The Nation of Inventors’ at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Connecticut (www.hagley.org) will first be greeted by Modvic’s Velocipede Time Machine sculpture — almost a ½ ton of steel, aluminum and metal parts — complete with motorized kinetic movement and LED lighting.
Jill Mackenzie, executive director at the Hagley Museum and Library, reached out to Bruce Rosenbaum at Modvic because they wanted to do a ‘super-sized’ Steampunk patent model for the lobby of their visitor center that was inspired by their collection.
“Finding the relevant and meaningful objects that would help to tell the story of invention and the connections to the Hagley’s patent model collection were our greatest challenges,” Rosenbaum said. “Our original inspiration for the piece included patent models for a velocipede, an electro-magnetic Dynamo and Steam Engine Governor Balls.”
The permanent exhibit (opening September 2021) honors the creativity and intellectual property of America’s inventors. In fact, the U.S. Patent Office has now surpassed 10 million patents issued. Before pages and pages of endless paperwork were required, patent officials asked inventors to submit tiny replica models of the devices and products they wished to build, according to Rosenbaum.
Taking concept drawings from Jim Su, a team of artists, technicians, and welders came together at Salmon Studios in Florence, Massachusetts to work on the sculpture. Sam Ostroff, Brett Kelley and Melanie Rosenbaum all had various roles in bringing the sculpture to life. There is also a tiny replica of the sculpture on display called the “Patently False Patent Model.”
The center console is a late 19th Century dental chair with a steam engine device and other metal parts. “The electro-magnetic motor was the energy producing piece that actually would produce the power to energize the Velocipede Time Machine,” Rosenbaum added.
As the time machine is always a great talking point in steampunk culture, Rosenbaum is currently working on a ‘hydro-powered’ time machine project which will no doubt contain the same amount of ingenuity and creativity as the Velocipede Time Machine sculpture.
“Steampunk art and design is all about creative problem solving (process of invention), collaboration and resilience. The Velocipede Time Machine was the perfect STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART and Math) sculpture that brought all those ideas together and will set the bar for future ModVic sculpture projects,” Rosenbaum said.