In what used to be an expansive boiler and engine room in America’s first factory textile mill and the model for Lowell Massachusetts, sits a treasure trove of cranks, gears, and industrial machinery known collectively as the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation.
Established to preserve America’s rich history of mechanical progress and focus on the industrial revolution in the country, the museum offers visitors a chance to see how the world worked before computers and wireless ubiquity. The collection features exhibits on such topics as steam power, clockwork, and pre-combustion transportation. Some notable items include turn-of-the-20th-century racing bicycles, motorcycles, and an early auto (all made in Waltham!), twin Linotype typecasting machines (dubbed by Thomas Edison “The Eighth Wonder of the World”), and a working belt and pulley lineshaft-driven machine shop.Whether visitors want to show their ungrateful kids how things were done before computers or just get some inspiration for their steampunk cosplay, the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation is the bee’s knees.