An exhibit celebrating Pennsylvania’s rich and diverse industrial heritage


Pennsylvania’s industrial history can be traced back, in part, to William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges.

A diverse population of both skilled and unskilled workers was drawn from across Europe to the new colony in pursuit of the religious and social freedoms idealized by Penn. This large and varied workforce set up the new colony to quickly become not only the largest, but also the most diversified colony in the New World.

Colonial-era Pennsylvania utilized the abundant natural resources to become the leader in ship building and iron production. In the early 19th century, immense coal resources provided the inexpensive energy needed to fuel the furnaces of the iron and steel industries, and Pennsylvania’s vast waterways propelled the growth of textile mills throughout the Eastern portion of the state.

The introduction and expansion of the railway system during the first half of the 19th century provided a quicker and more efficient means of transporting both raw materials and finished goods between manufactures and end consumers.

The first commercially viable oil well was drilled in Western Pennsylvania in 1859, and ushered in the beginning of the petroleum industry in the United States. Natural gas, a by-product of the oil industry, provided the fuel for expanding the glass industry in Central Pennsylvania.

A second influx of immigrant workers in the mid-19th century provided the affordable labor needed during the industrial revolution. From 1850 to 1920, two-thirds of all goods manufactured in the United States were produced in Pennsylvania. In 1999, Pennsylvania's top trading partners were Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, with primary exports being chemicals, machinery, metal manufacturing, computer and electronic products, and transportation equipment.

The period between 2008 and 2009 saw a growth of 101 percent, or $632 million, in the exportation of pharmaceuticals and medicines. Manufactured goods account for 92 percent of Pennsylvania’s exports today, and China has become the state’s third largest trading partner.

The “Pennsylvania Pride” exhibit continues through December 20, 2013.

Manufacturers represented in the Pennsylvania Pride exhibit




This exhibit is a LEGO display, featuring a LEGO Hogwarts Castle, a LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon spaceship and a LEGOtel, along with LEGO cars, boats and other smaller constructions.