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Telegram to Bethlehem Steel marks its role in historic Lindbergh flight

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James Stetler holds the telegram about the historic Lindbergh flight, which he has donated to the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem. (Photo by Glenn Koehler)
James Stetler holds the telegram about the historic Lindbergh flight, which he has donated to the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem. (Photo by Glenn Koehler)

An interesting bit of history has found its way into the hands of the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem.

A telegram regarding Bethlehem Steel’s role in the historic flight of the Spirit of St. Louis over the Atlantic Ocean more than 90 years ago is now in the museum’s collection.

The telegram from Wright Aeronautical, the makers of the plane's engine, to Bethlehem Steel congratulating it for its role in Charles Lindbergh’s legendary solo flight across the Atlantic was recently donated to the museum by James Stetler of Bethlehem.

The steel for the plane’s engine was made in the basic open hearth furnace in Bethlehem and poured into treated molds to create the engine pieces.

The telegram was the property of Stetler’s father-in-law, Garvin E. Kram, who was a Navy veteran and worked in the sales department for the casting and forgings department at Bethlehem Steel for 31 years.

Lindbergh became internationally famous in May 1927 after piloting the Spirit of St. Louis in a more than 33-hour flight between New York and Paris.

“Everyone knows the story,” said Glenn Koehler, marketing and outreach coordinator for the museum. “Kids are still taught this in school. It shows the significant global impact Bethlehem Steel had not just here in the U.S. but around the world.”

The telegram is not yet on display. It is in the museum’s archives, where it can be viewed by the public for research purposes.

The National Museum of Industrial History is a Smithsonian Institution-affiliate dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage.

It is housed in an 18,000-square-foot, 100-year-old building on former Bethlehem Steel property in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem Steel, once a titan of American industry, went out of business in 2003.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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