Connecticut Cherry Highboy

In the history of American cabinetmaking, highboys are particularly valuable and important because they show advanced craftsmanship and artistry. This Connecticut highboy, dating back to the 18th century, is cherry wood with a double block front with bonnet top. The top has spiral (flame) finials and the highboy is supported by ball and claw feet. This particular highboy was once owned by a governor of Connecticut.

Jeweled Ivory Elephant

This rare carved ivory elephant was decorated with 428 precious stones set in gold trappings and dates to the late 18th century. It originated in India and is believed to be a gift to a raja. The piece was donated to the museum in 1964 from a couple in Chicago who found it a beautiful piece of art. It is currently on exhibit in the museum's India area.

Cased Colt Paterson Pistol

In 1836 a patent was created for a weapon that used a revolving cylinder coupled with a stationary barrel. This was the first design for a marketable repeating shot firearm. Samuel Colt is attributed with the design of the first firearm under the patent, the Colt Paterson Pistol. A loading lever was eventually added to the design, enabling the weapon to be loaded without disassembly.

Schloemer Automobile

The Schloemer automobile, on exhibit in Streets of Old Milwaukee, was the first internal combustion vehicle to run on the streets of Milwaukee. This vehicle is a product of Gottfried Schloemer's and Frank Toepfer's interest in producing a self-propelled vehicle. After their first attempt, a bicycle-like vehicle that required its passengers to pull a bar back and forth to operate the crank shaft, Schloemer and Toepfer looked to other innovations. Schloemer and Toepfer borrowed the gasoline engine design from the Sintz Machinery Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ferguson Breech Loading Rifle

Unique to firearms history, this flint-lock Patrick Ferguson breech loading rifle is one of only 100 martial Ferguson's rifles made and dates to 1776-1778. Prior to breech loading weaponry, muzzle-loading firearms were used. The breech loading rifle revolutionized firearm warfare with a design that enabled faster reloading during battle. Breech loading rifles had been used for more than 200 years prior to Patrick Ferguson's design, but Ferguson's version of this breech loading flintlock weapon, made possible by improvements in more precise engineering, was a more successful weapon.

1913 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

In 1903, Harley-Davidson began its motorcycle business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This item, a 1913 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, was manufactured during a time of great production and growth for the company. That year, Harley-Davidson built a new, much larger factory. The following year, production numbers soared to 16,284 motorcycles. After 1914, Harley-Davidson dominated the motorcycle industry.

Northwood Cameo Plaque

Dating to 1895 and depicting "Venus instructing Cupid," the Northwood Cameo Plaque is unique. Although George Woodall is considered the greatest carver of English cameo glass, John Northwood was one of the first to carve this type of glass and is known to have made only seven works on cameo glass. He sparked a period of Greco-Roman recreations on glass and revitalized British interest in Greco-Roman glass works.

Tiffany Mokume Vase

Inspired by Japanese artifacts, the mokume vase is Tiffany's recreation of Japanese metal work. This vase contains a square with panels of copper, silver and gold on a sterling silver frame. Tiffany and Company created a line of items displaying traditional Japanese metalworking techniques after Christopher Dresser, a long time friend of Louis Tiffany, returned from Japan with several artifacts. In 1878 Tiffany displayed his work at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, France.

The Lalique Mask

A valuable piece in the museum's glass collection, the Lalique mask is an excellent example of glass artwork. It was crafted by Rene Lalique, known in the 1920s as Europe's master of decorative glass. Although he is reknowned for his work in jewelry, furniture accessories, vases and more, this piece of decorative glass is a product of Lalique's shift in specialization after the world market's collapse in 1929. Most of Lalique's work after the Depression focused on architectural items such as rails and altars for churches and lighting fixtures and wall panels for department stores.

William J. Uihlein Postage Stamp Collection

The Uihlein Stamp collection was donated in 1928 by William J. Uihlein, an avid stamp collector who amassed 22 albums comprising 40,000 stamps from all over the world. Many of the stamps in this collection are pre-1900 and quite rare. Uihlein volunteered at the museum with his collection until his death in 1932.