Clarence Marshall passed away in 1969. Shortly after his passing, Clarence’s son, Thomas C. Marshall Jr., decided to open the three-generation Auburn Heights property once again for the public to enjoy on weekends during the summer months. While the property had been open to the public in the early 1960s to raise money for another venture both Clarence and Tom supported, the Wilmington & Western Railroad, this time the offerings would be greatly expanded. The Magic Age of Steam operated from 1971 through 1977. As part of the promotional materials prepared for announcing the reopening while major renovations occurred to the property prior to the 1971 grand opening, Tom wrote about the concept behind The Magic Age of Steam. In that document was a hope that has turned out to be prophetic in the 21st century. What was Tom’s prophetic hope?

While we always attempt to include photos with our questions and answers, for this issue we direct our readers to the link below. The link below takes you to the Marshall Steam Museum pages maintained by the Friends of Auburn Heights on CatalogIt that are devoted to the Magic Age of Steam. There you will find many documents and photos detailing the activities one could pursue when visiting The Magic Age of Steam at Auburn Heights. Many of those activities still occur in the 21st century during monthly Steamin’ Days.


As mentioned in the Question, Tom wrote a document describing the concept behind the Magic Age of Steam shortly after his father passed away. In italics is highlighted the answer to this month’s question.

Probably in late summer of 1971, the collections of the late T. Clarence Marshall (1885-1969), including the largest exhibit of steam-powered automobiles in the world, an imposing display of miniature stationary steam engines and tiny railroad locomotives, and the 7½”-gauge coal-burning Auburn Valley Railroad, all located on the grounds of his home on Route 82 at Yorklyn, Delaware, will be opened to the public as “The Magic Age of Steam.” It is hoped that this facility will take its place among northern Delaware’s fine tourist attractions, and in addition to providing a history of steam during its heyday in America, will also provide good wholesome fun for all ages.

Visitors to the grounds prior to public opening must understand that several construction projects are underway with the necessary disarray. Around the lawn, a second “main line’ of the Auburn Valley Railroad is-being constructed, which will offer a tunnel, a second trestle, a bridge over a stream (possibly covered), and the only double-tracked main of a 7½”-gauge commercial railroad anywhere. Also, a pond is being built, which will not only have a miniature railroad around it, but tiny boats powered by steam for youngsters to ride in. And of course, a giant steam pump will pump the water into the pond. New driveways providing better traffic patterns for steam vehicles like Stanley Steamer Mountain Wagons, which will be used on special occasions, will also be constructed on the premises. In the Museum building, most of the exhibits will be operating by steam. These will include not only small stationary engines and locomotives, but a popcorn machine, and a partially cut-away Stanley car. A simulated ride on a real steam train will be offered when the weather is against outdoor activities. It is now expected that all facilities, indoor and outdoor, will operate Saturdays and Sundays, April through October, with the Museum being open to groups on a reservation basis on week-days and during the winter months.

For definition purposes, we consider the Age of Steam in America from the end of the Civil War until the early 1920’s. T. Clarence Marshall was born into and grew up in the Age of Stearn, and he loved it dearly. As a young lad, he worked on the boilers and the Corliss steam engines in his father’s paper mill, and at the age of 19 built his first steam automobile. From 1910 until 1920 he was the agent for Stanley Stearn Cars in Delaware and Chester County, Pennsylvania. He traveled to the Stanley factory in Newton, Mass. several times, and met the Stanley twins. After 20 years away from steam cars (1920-1940), he bought back a 1913 Stanley Model 76 Touring steamer he had sold when new, and thus, just prior to World War II, Mr. Marshall started the collection which is to become the “Magic Age of Stearn”. The Museum building was built in 1947, the largest open floor structure in Delaware at time of construction, was soon was full of antique automobiles, most of them steamers, In addition to restoring some 20 steam cars, Mr. Marshall turned to the construction of small live-steam locomotives. In 1960 the original line of the Auburn Valley Railroad was built, and this facility was opened to the public on limited days from 1961 through 1965, as an activity of Historic Red Clay Valley, Inc. to restore steam engines and coaches for operating on the Red Clay Valley Line, now known as the Wilmington & Western Railroad.

Thomas C. Marshall, Jr., who from childhood shared his father’s interest in everything powered by steam, was president of the “Magic Age of Steam”, and Weldin V. Stumpf was mechanical director. Further information may be had by calling Area Code 302-239-2385, or writing The Magic Age of Steam (Marshall Steam Museum), PO Box 61, Yorklyn, DE 19736.


A century ago the Delaware legislature formed the Delaware State Police to regulate and maintain safety on the state’s highways and roadways. In 1917 the Highway Traffic Police formed with the objective of having one officer patrolling the Philadelphia Pike (Route 13 along the Delaware River) during daylight hours. In 1918 the Highway Traffic Police expanded to four patrolmen each with a motorcycle. By 1925, increased traffic monitoring requirements transformed the organization into a 24-hour service that included a Canine Unit. The organization returned to its Delaware State Police name in 1931 and continued to expand in responsibilities, personnel, and capabilities over the ensuing decades.

Today, there are 35 divisions within the Delaware State Police. For Kent and Sussex counties the Delaware State Police provide primary law-enforcement except where a municipality provides their own law enforcement. In New Castle County the Delaware State Police share law-enforcement with the New Castle County Police and local municipality police forces.

In recognition of the Delaware State Police’s 100th anniversary, Republican Minority Leader Mike Ramone from the 21st District (Pike Creek) introduced a bill to acknowledge and honor state police officers’ service. What was the context of Ramone’s acknowledgement that required enacting through legislation? Hint: The results of Ramone’s action are included in the above image of State Police uniform designs and the look of the police vehicles of the past century.


House Bill 100 amended Title 21 of the Delaware Code relating to Special License Plates to create a unique plate for Delaware State Police officers to display on their patrol cars. The Bill dictates the license plate shall begin with the prefix “ST.” The plates are a reverse of Delaware’s traditional blue & gold license plate design with the letters in blue and the plate’s background color of gold. The DE State Police logo is to the left and there is no expiration sticker assigned. The plates carry a $10 initial registration fee and may only be granted to an officer upon request at the discretion of the Superintendent of the State Police who is currently Colonel Melissa Zeebley, the first woman to head the Delaware State Police.

Drive safely and let us hope your first time seeing one of the new plates is not due to you are being stopped for a traffic infraction! For a more complete history of the evolution of Delaware State Police automobile license plates visit:


Anyone who has toured Marshall Brothers paper mill (two tours left in 2023 – October 28th & November 18th), is aware of the variety of dangerous machinery installed in the 1890s mill which made paper into the 21st century. Additionally, as papermaking is a water-based process, wet, uneven, concrete flooring provided ample opportunity for slippery conditions. Machines with flailing knives, rotary cylindrical boilers operating at 25 pounds per square inch steam pressure (267 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures) and large moving belts and gears added to the opportunities for worker injury.

In 1890, when the former Auburn Factory was converted to a paper mill by Israel and Elwood Marshall, only 9 states required some level of factory safety inspection. Delaware did not require boiler inspections until 1919. DuPont, the state’s biggest employer for much of the 20th century, began its safety program in 1811 and by 1927 had an injury rate of 3.4 major injuries per million hours worked. This record, and compatible records of other large Delaware employers, eliminated the need for Delaware employers to have to comply with state safety regulations. Delaware businesses had a free hand in defining workplace safety requirements until OSHA was enacted.

Congress enacted the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act on April 28, 1971 after President Nixon’s December 1970s signing. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created by the Act to ensure America’s work practices and environments were safe for all employees, contractors, and visitors, Not only was OSHA tasked with defining a safe workplace through regulations and policy, the organization had the power to levy fines where failure to comply could be documented either through unannounced inspection or investigation after a reportable injury occurred.

Recently the NVF corporate records have been parsed for the company’s safety performance. We know, for example, in 1982 NVF Yorklyn recorded 27 safety incidents for 348,855 hours worked for fiber operations and recorded 11 safety incidents for 153,671 hours worked for papermaking operations. The research indicates these numbers were not uncommon, in fact 1982’s data was statistically average for injury data reported to OSHA during the 1980s and into the 1990s at NVF Yorklyn.

The data show multiple examples of lacerations, bruises, strains, and sprains. Think back to how you have injured yourself when a slipping knife has not been the cause of a laceration, tripping over an object has not resulted in a fall, to the more unique accidents that have caused you injury. How many of those unique accidents do you think may not have been unique, but occurred at NVF Yorklyn? For our Answer we will describe some of the recordable accidents at NVF Yorklyn

As one reads through decades of recordable safety incidents occurring on an annual basis at Yorklyn, not using proper safety equipment such as eyewear, gloves, footwear, and even simple clothing were frequently cited as contributing to dozens of annual injuries. While failure to use safety equipment contributed to many injuries, working conditions and employee willingness to follow safety guidelines accounted for quite a few injuries. Perhaps most noteworthy were the uneven walking surfaces throughout the facilities creating numerous opportunities for trips, falls, and sprains Improper lifting and moving often resulted in back and groin injuries. Properly maintaining equipment was often cited when handrails or other safety devices failed to perform as intended due to not having been tested or maintained.

Employees using hammers had the hammer ricochet off what was being struck and strike the employee at various locations. There are numerous examples of employees working with either the paper sheet or the fibre sheet and getting their fingers and arms caught between the rollers or other machine parts. Employees were injured using thread-up tooling they concocted for various uses around machinery or the employee became injured pulling and cutting paper/fiber from a machine where the material had tightly wrapped within the machinery. There are incident reports documenting removed guard(s) and had the guard(s) been in use, the incident would not have happened or the injury might have been significantly less.

There was one death recorded at NVF Yorklyn when an employee operating a fork truck at high speed (with a failed braking system) swerved to miss other employees and crashed into a building support column bringing part of an upper floor down upon the fork truck that did not have a safety cage for the operator. In another incident an employee lost 143 workdays while mowing grass with a tractor after they collided with a 55-gallon steel drum that was visible for some distance. The employee was thrown from the tractor and had the old-fashioned reel mower being towed behind the tractor run over them resulting in broken legs and pelvis, lacerations, and serious internal injuries.