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Meet the Expert: Slate Splitting

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For many years, Lehigh and Northampton Counties dominated slate production in the United States. Among many products, slate for roofing was shipped around the world. Join us on Saturday, September 15, 2018 for a hands on demonstration of the slater’s craft. Visitors will learn how slate is split and “dressed” (shaped), both by hand with modern tools and with machinery approximately one hundred years old. At the end of the program, visitors will be able to create their own small slate product to take home, such as a miniature blackboard or ornament.

Mike Piersa is a historian at the National Museum of Industrial History. Among other roles, he is also co-coordinator of the Bangor Quarry Hoist Project, a community initiative to preserve a 118 year old, Bangor, PA, built mining hoist . For over a decade, Mike has directed efforts to save the hoist and many other antique machines from local slate quarries. His Master’s Thesis detailed the history of slate quarrying at the Stephens-Jackson Company in Pen Argyl, PA. Mike has served as an advisor to the University of Pennsylvania and other institutions that have studied the local slate industry.

The Meet the Expert series takes place on the third Saturday of each month. This unique opportunity to hear thematic talks from experts in their respective fields will include a 45-minute lecture and 15-minute Q&A. Meet the Experts is included in your admission price and is free to all members of the museum.