A mint is a place where they make treasure. The Forney Museum of Transportation (www.ForneyMuseum.org) in Denver, Colo., is a treasure trove of transportation history. It started as an antique car museum, but today you will find an amazing collection of cars there, plus trains, trolleys, carriages, trucks, airplanes and motorcycles. There are over 500 exhibits in the huge building.
James Donavan (J.D.) Forney was born in Enid, Okla., in 1905. In 1932, he went into business for himself selling “The Forney Instant Heat Soldering Iron” door to door, across the heartland. Forney’s wife Rachel was born in a sod home in Thedford, Neb., in 1906. In 1936, J.D. Forney invented and produced the first successful 110-volt/125 amp and 110-volt/150 amp welders intended for use outside an industrial setting. These became popularly known as “farm welders.” The couple formed Forney Industries. J.D. lived until 1986 and his wife survived him by a decade. The couple founded Forney Industries.
The Forneys began the car collection in 1956 with the acquisition of a 1921 Kissel Sport Touring car called a “touristor.” This yellow car was nearly identical to the Kissel that J D owned while attending Colorado A & M in 1925. He used that car while he was dating Rachel Krickbaum, who he later married.
Today, donations are being sort by the museum to restore the Kissel. “Help us restore a piece of Forney Museum history,” say flyers in the gift shop.
The Forney Museum was formed in 1961 in Fort Collins, Colo. Then, in 1967, it moved to a place called Cinderella City. A year later, the museum relocated again to a place called the Tramway Powerhouse. The Colorado Transportation Museum, founded by a man named Dr. Arneill, was then merged into the Forney Museum of Transportation—a public, non-profit corporation.