- City Guides
333 Speedwell Ave, Morristown, NJ 07960
The factory house at Speedwell Ironworks.
Photo credit: Photography by Leif Knutsen. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license and Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
Speedwell Ironworks was an ironworks in Speedwell Village, just north of Morristown, New Jersey. At this site Alfred Vail and Samuel Morse first demonstrated the electric telegraph. Speedwell Ironworks also provided most of the machinery for the SS Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The museum includes nine buildings furnished to depict life at Speedwell during the early 19th century.
The Vail House, a historic house museum restored to 1840s period style, possesses some original family furniture and Vail memorabilia. The Wheel House houses an operational 24-foot overshot waterwheel. The Granary displays hand-crafted wooden farm tools and ice-harvesting equipment. The Homestead Carriage House houses an exhibit on the SS Savannah.
Of particular interest is the old Factory Building, where first public demonstration of the electric telegraph took place on January 11, 1838. Although Morse and Alfred Vail had done most of the research and development in the ironworks facilities, they chose the factory house as the demonstration site.
This description includes material adapted from the Wikipedia article "Speedwell Ironworks", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. It has been edited for brevity and to conform with the style of this website. The edited description is distributed under the terms of the same Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 license.