Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 3, 1946 -- Museum of Science and Industry Opens Its Farm Exhibit

July 3, 1946 –The International Harvester Company opens an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, providing “a complete Midwestern agricultural exhibit with mooing cows, cawing crows, and the latest in farm equipment.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 2, 1946]The exhibit includes a modern farm home, “lifelike” barnyard animals and natural sound effects.  Part of the exhibit is a historical timeline of the development of farm machinery since the invention of the reaper by Cyrus McCormick in 1831.  Mr. John L. McCaffrey, the International Harvester president, speaks at the dedication, saying that the model farm will illustrate “the close mechanical tie between urban and rural life.”  Dr. George D. Sotddard, the new president of the University of Illinois, also speaks.  The photo above shows workers readying the exhibit for the public in 1946.

July 3, 1912 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that a new record for inheritance taxes in Illinois has been set with a tax of $329,131 assessed on the estimated $17,000,000 estate of the late R. T. Crane.  Payment of the tax by July 8, 1912 will save the heirs of the estate more than $16,000 because of a five per cent allowance for prompt payment.  The estate of Marshall Field had set the previous record, with a tax on his estate of $125,000.  The Field estate, however, sheltered nearly a half-million dollars in tax liability by insuring that property in the estate did not pass on to heirs at the time of Field’s death.  Richard T. Crane had the singular fortune of being born the nephew of Chicago lumber baron Martin Ryerson.  At the age of 23, the young man moved to Chicago and began a partnership with his brother.  Crane’s timing could not have been better.  He had established himself as an astute businessman in the city for a years before the 1871 fire.  After the fire his mill met the appetite of the city, supplying it with pipe, steam engines and even elevators as architecture moved from four- or five-story buildings to soaring towers.  The company’s manufacture of enameled cast iron bathroom fixtures also synced up nicely with the demand for luxurious indoor sanitary facilities.  In 1910 the Crane company factories in Chicago employed over 5,000 men.  For more information on the Crane company and the son of its founder you can turn to this section of Connecting the Windy City.

July 3, 1976 – The Chicago Tribune reports that artist Marc Chagall has donated a set of windows, entitled “The American Windows,” to the Art Institute of Chicago as a Bicentennial gift.  The windows will measure eight by thirty feet and will be installed in an area overlooking McKinlock Court, a space illuminated by natural light.  Chagall holds the city in warm regard as a result of the experiences he had in 1973 and 1974 in the creation and dedication of his mosaic The Four Seasons, installed on the east side of the plaza of the First National Bank of Chicago, now Exelon Plaza.

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