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A visit to the University of Nebraska's Tractor Test Laboratory & the US Roller Skating Museum

sunny 76 °F

(Tuesday) Today was an additional day that I plugged into my schedule to allow for possible hurricane damage attention. Fortunately, Irma's wrath did not affect my home much, aside from torn pool cage screening. I was very lucky for many, many did not fare well.

Lincoln, NE is city of about 300K and is the site of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. There are other satelite campuses in other locations in the state, as well. Big Red, as the Division I football & basketball teams are called, are king in the city. One sees the red 'N' everywhere. Memorial Stadium where football games are played holds 81,000 fans. They say that on game weekends the stadium becomes the 3rd largest city in Nebraska, following Omaha and Lincoln in population. The student enrollment is about 26K and the university is divided into East & West Campuses. The East is devoted to Agriculture studies and the West to Liberal Arts & Sciences. In the visitors center I noticed a brochure on the Larsen Tractor Museum & Testing Laboratory. Not having much to do I decided to check it out. Was I pleasantly surprised.
A student docent took me on a tour of the museum which has a collection of about 30 tractors and some early farm implements. What she explained was that in about 1917 the State of Nebraska passed a law requiring all tractor manufacturers to have their products tested if they were to sell their product in the State. In those early years manufacturers were making wild sales claims about what their tractors could do and most fell miserably short in their performance & dependability. Farmers were scammed and the legislation was designed to protect them.
Here's how it works. Tractor manufacturers must meet all pulling power, power takeoff, emission standards, etc. that they advertise. Upon receiving the machine from the manufacturer the laboratory attaches the test tractor to a giant 'earth-mover' type tractor weighing many tons. In its cab are computers designed to measure the force or horsepower of the tractor being tested & in all gears, some having as many as 24. The giant test machine is put in reverse to pull against the tractor being tested. In some cases with the huge 400,500,600 hp. tractors of today they attach to the giant machine as many as 4 tractors in tandem, all put in reverse to place a maximum force against the one being tested. Three engineers, a requirement, are in the test machine watching & recording information in all tests. Very strict requirements must be met, such as atmospheric temperature and humidity conditions, identical fuel used in all tests, etc. so as to accurately compare one product to another. That is to say, Caterpiller to John Deere to Kubota, etc., etc. The tractor testing laboratory is the only one in the western hemisphere and one of 3 in the world. It was one of those unexpected pleasures one finds when looking for something to do.
On a whim I visited the US Roller Skating Museum. There is a museum for everything, even a National Quilting Museum here in Lincoln. The latter I skipped. The Roller Skating museum didn't take long but it displayed and explained the history of the 'sport'. Of course, it has grown into competitive roller dancing, Roller Derby competitions, etc. They displayed the costumes that roller skaters wear in their various activities. It is one of those DNR's, Do Not Return.
Tomorrow its on to Des Moines, Iowa to see the Capitol.

Posted by dixter 06:34 Archived in USA Tagged museum visits

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