Penfield to host program

IRONVILLE Heritage Day will be held Sunday, Aug. 19, at the Penfield Homestead Museum.

Activities include Champlain Valley bluegrass music, free oxen and pony rides, a craft fair and demonstrations of weaving, candlemaking and blacksmithing as well as a chicken barbecue. There is also a 10-kilometer road race.

Heritage Day will get under way with a church service at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m. the craft fair and museum open, while the road race begins.

The annual chicken barbecue will be served 1-2:30 p.m.

Tickets are sold in advance or can be purchased at the event for $8 a plate. Tickets must be redeemed no later than 2:30 p.m. The dinner includes a half chicken, corn, potato, baked beans, roll and butter. Drinks and dessert will be sold separately.

For information on any of the activities call the museum at 597-3804.

The Penfield Homestead Museum offers a glimpse at life in the 19th Century in the Crown Point hamlet of Ironville.

The museum is the former home of Allen Penfield and reflects an era when mining dominated the regional economy. It is also the birthplace of the electrical age.

The hamlet of Ironville, on the National Register of Historic Places, is listed as the Birthplace of the Electric Age since it is the site of the first industrial application of electricity in the United States in 1831. The electricity was provided by a simple battery known as a wet battery, which in turn was used to power one of Joseph Henrys electromagnets. The electromagnet was used in Ironville to recharge the magnetic prongs on the magnetic ore separator, a machine used to remove the iron from the crushed ore.

The magnet also became a novelty and people would come from miles to see its strength. Thomas Davenport, of Brandon, Vt., was so fascinated with the magnet at Ironville that he purchased it from Allen Penfield at a cost of $75. With the experimentation that Davenport did on that magnet, it lead to his invention of the electric motor in the mid 1830s.

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