Emerson “Patriot” Radio

Donated by Ada Lee Shook

This radio belonged to the Carl Smith family of Fayetteville.

In 1940, with U. S. involvement in World War II on everyone’s mind, Emerson Radio and Phonograph Company and industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes came out with the “Patriot” radio in red, white, and blue colors. The cabinet is made of catalin, a type of plastic similar to bakelite. Patriots retailed for $24.95.

Printer’s Block

Donated by Parker Rushing

This metal-plated printer’s block engraved with a cow  was used by the Prairie Grove Enterprise newspaper, back in the days when the letters and illustrations on a newspaper page were hand-placed—or “typeset”—in preparation for printing.

With the slogan of “A Community Newspaper Dedicated to Building a Better Community,” the Enterprise was first published on November 19, 1936, by George and Ida Wiswell and their son, George Jr. In 1965 Tri-State Publishers of Springdale bought the Enterprise but the commercial printing department and equipment were reacquired by the Wiswells in July of that same year. Boyce Davis, owner of the Lincoln Leader, purchased the Enterprise in June 1967 and sold it back to the Wiswells. The Wiswells continued to operate the Enterprise until 1971 when they sold the business to the Alan Nicholas family of Cleveland, Ohio. The paper has been bought and sold multiple times since 1971; as of 2018, it is owned by Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC and published weekly as the Washington County Enterprise-Leader

Paymaster Check Writer

Donated by Harps Food Stores General Office

Check writers, sometimes called check protectors, were designed to print checks which could not be tampered with or altered in some way. This manually-operated “Ribbon Writer” check writer, which dates to 1966, was used by Springdale’s Harps Food Stores

In 1930, Harvard and Floy Harp opened Harp’s Cash Grocery on corner of Emma Avenue and Water Street in downtown Springdale. The Harps succeeded even through the depths of the Great Depression, and expanded to a larger store in 1941.The Harps’ son Don joined the business in 1953. In 1956 the Harps opened Springdale’s first supermarket, Harp’s IGA at the corner of Sunset and Highway 71. They became a small chain when they opened Harps North in 1964. Two more sons, Reland and Gerald, and other members of the Harp family joined the business as the company expanded. Today, Harps has more than 85 stores in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. 

Delco Battery Jar

Donated by Truman Stamps

This Delco battery jar dates from the 1930s, before rural electrification came to the Ozarks. Many rural homes, farms, and small businesses produced their own electricity with a Delco-Light power system, which consisted of an engine powered by gasoline or kerosene, a generator, and a series of batteries. The batteries contained a corrosive mixture of acid and water and were stored in glass jars such as the one pictured here.

The Rural Electrification Administration was established in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was tasked with getting electricity to rural areas not served by public and private power companies. However, it was after World War II before many rural Arkansas Ozark families saw electricity brought to their homes and farms.

Radar Unit

Donated by the Springdale Police Department

The Springdale Police Department used this Dominator radar unit to catch drivers exceeding the speed limit in the mid-1960s. One officer sat in a squad car with the radar unit, clocking the speed of a vehicle as it passed. When there was a violation, he radioed another officer waiting in a squad car down the road who would then pull the speeding driver over and issue a ticket.

“Radar Will Getcha If You Don’t Watch Out” was the caption for an April 12, 1965, Springdale News photo feature describing the department’s two-man radar operation. One officer (Karl Martens, pictured here) sat in a squad car with the radar unit, clocking speeds of cars as they passed. When there was a violation, he radioed another officer waiting in a car down the road who would then stop and ticket violators. Charles Bickford, photographer/Springdale News Collection


Donated by Bruce Vaughan

This circa 1925 sculptoscope is a stereoscope viewer which creates a 3-D effect by using a card with two side-by-side images that become one 3-D image when viewed through the glasses of the viewer.

Richard R. Whiting and his brother Herbert sold stereoscope cards door to door from the 1880s to the early 1900s. In 1913, they formed the American Novelty Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, and sold viewers designed and patented by Richard. Both brothers passed away in the early 1940s.

For more information on the work of the Whiting brothers, visit Paul Rubenstein’s Yellowstone Stereoview website.

Image as seen in the sculptoscope.