Golden: Infused with innovators

Posted 11/14/13

It goes without saying Golden is “Where the West Lives,” but it is also “Where Innovation Lives” based on a stirring exhibit by the Golden …

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Golden: Infused with innovators

Posted

It goes without saying Golden is “Where the West Lives,” but it is also “Where Innovation Lives” based on a stirring exhibit by the Golden History Center’s newest display “Made in Golden.”

The exhibit begins with the story of David King, Golden’s first resident and innovator, who traveled from Indiana in 1858 looking to find wealth by “mining the miners” with the use of his handy green thumb. By 1859 King found a way to divert water from Clear Creek to his garden, and was the leading provider for fresh produce for Denver’s citizens.

Jump ahead 100 years later, and you have Coors accomplishing a renowned invention for a more reliable and eco-friendly beverage can — the aluminum can.

“For the exhibit we define innovation as a new solution to an old problem,” Mark Dodge, curator for Golden History Museums said. “That’s the framework that we kind of hang this story on.”

Continuing down the timeline, you have Samuel Reed and his Reed Speakers, more widely recognized as the drive-in movie speakers and junction head they dangled from during the companies heyday in the 1960s and '70s.

For a more modern look into Golden’s newest inventions and innovators, there is the offshoot of Coors Tek and its production of body armor and ceramic helicopter seats for the U.S. Military to laser printers by Epilog, one of four major companies in the world that produce’s low wattage CO2 lasers.

“We like to say that history is not just what happened 150 years ago but it’s what happened yesterday as well,” Doug Skiba, development and communications coordinator said.

With 150 manufacturing companies in Golden, it took Dodge 18 months to outline and organize his idea for this unique exhibit. “That is a lot of businesses, we only tease out a half a dozen at best,” Dodge said. “That’s pretty amazing for such a small community.”

Of the 150 companies in Golden, many more have called in to the Golden History Center requesting a spot in the exhibit. But due to limited space, staff is unable to showcase more companies at the history center.

Interactive features have been integrated into the exhibit including the Epilog laser printer that engraves the exhibit’s logo on a blank plastic disk which is given to the public with admission. Visitors are able to run the printer and watch how the printer works.

Dodge’s section shows how innovation and aims to dispel myths that invention only comes from those with an innate capability to create something outstanding.

“One of the take away messages is that we all innovate on different levels,” Dodge said. “We all have the ability to do it; I like that message a lot.”

The exhibit (822 12th St.) is ongoing, and much to see and do. Ticket prices are set at $3 for adults and free admission to children 6 and under. For more information on the exhibit visit: www.goldenhistory.org.

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