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Penfield season to begin

IRONVILLE - Located in the Crown Point hamlet of Ironville, the Penfield Museum is the former home of Allen Penfield and reflects the 19th Century when mining dominated the regional economy. It is also the birthplace of the electrical age.

The museum will also host three special events this summer.

June 6 will be the traditional opening day pancake breakfast 8-10:30 a.m.

Aug. 16 will be Heritage Day Activities starting with a 9 a.m. service at the Ironville Church and will include a craft fair and flea market 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. along with a chicken barbecue at 1 p.m..

Oct. 11 will be AppleFolkFest, the final event of the year at the museum. It'll feature a craft fair and flea market 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. as well as chili and apple desserts starting at 11 a.m.

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 Henry's 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 it's 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.

Central to the museum is an exact replica of a large electromagnet now in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

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