Annual Meeting 2015

Eli Whitney Museum

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THE TRUSTEES OF THE ELI WHITNEY MUSEUM INVITE YOU TO ITS
36th Annual Meeting
Thursday, November 12th at 5:30 pm
AT THE ELI WHITNEY MUSEUM

Eli Whitney & the Robot
A drama of new machines and learning.

Light refreshments: Caseus • Whole G Breads • The Wine Thief
RSVP • 203.777.1833 or nm@eliwhitney.org

Eli Whitney understood that an essential step toward accuracy and efficiency in making things was to make the right tools. To make the right tools, he had to educate toolmakers.

To refine the precision of producing musket parts, Whitney constructed a water-powered, single-axis, continuous filing machine that could flatten one iron surface in passes advanced by an operator. It is a prototype of the American milling machine. At the end of each pass, the operator could engage a lever that would return the work carriage to its starting point. That carriage would disengage itself…the machine's one moment of complete automation.

This Fall, thanks to the generosity of the Smart Family Foundation, the Museum installed its third CNC router. Our new FMT Patriot Mill is an industrial class robot that can drill, shape, round and cut the pieces of our experimental building projects. It can finish 2000 pieces a day with tolerances Whitney never imagined could be measured.

The first step to engage this machine's capacity is to draw and code ideas in its language. To express our work through this machine, we have to educate designers.

At the Museum's 36th Annual Meeting, the Patriot Mill will demonstrate the interplay of new technology and learning. It will show off its speed and accuracy. It will showcase the capacity it gives young (and not so young) hands. It will endorse the Whitney tradition of learning by doing as an essential path to the skills of the new machine age.


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