Created by Dr. Evermor, a.k.a. Tom O. Every Born 1938, Brooklyn, Wisconsin
A 300-ton kinetic sculpture assembled from relics of the industrial age and designed for space travel, the Forevertron is located behind Delaney’s Surplus on Route 12, seven miles south of Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Construction on the Forevertron began in 1983 and is ongoing today.
“We’re only here a short time. We’ve got
to leave this planet something. We’ve got to
leave it a little better than we found it.”
Born in 1938, Tom O. Every the youth was enthralled by “junk.” Traveling by bicycle through his neighborhood streets of Brooklyn, Wisconsin, Every sought out unusual objects which he sold, traded and turned into useful gadgets. Every’s childhood fascination with historic materials would lead to a career in industrial wreckage, a career he would later question and then renounce in 1983.
Working in the wreckage and salvage business, Every traveled to outmoded factories and industrial sites, dismantling well designed but out-dated pieces of machinery. Three decades of “destruction,” however, began to take its toll. Every began to see that “many of these shapes and forms would soon disappear from our landscape entirely,” he said. “Whether it is tank ends with interesting rivets, shapes that come from breweries, or whatever, because of the metal value they'd be just melted down.” Every took it upon himself to save as much of this “stuff” as he could. Unusual components were brought back to Wisconsin. There they were sorted by form and function and stashed away. In the end, Every had amassed a lot of stuff, by his estimate about a thousand tons.
Out from the Wreckage: Dr. Evermor!
Every’s shift from wrecker to preserver of wreckage led to his “rebirth” as Dr. Evermor. Through this new identity, he would build the Forevertron. Dr. Evermor recalls this important period: "I became Dr. Evermor around 1983 when we started to build the Forevertron. I was a bit upset with the world, not so much the economic conditions as the judicial system and things like that, and I wanted to perpetuate myself back into the heavens on this magnetic lightning force field."
Every concedes that his alter ego, Dr. Evermor, was a pure figment of his imagination. Like the mythological Greek goddess Athena, the doctor sprang to life fully formed at the age of 45. In his new guise, Dr. Evermor was a slightly eccentric Victorian-era professor-inventor from Eggington, England. As a child, Evermor had been trapped in a huge electrical storm with his father, a Presbyterian minister. Such a storm, his father said, could only come from the hand of God. This event made a big impression on the future doctor. From that day forward, Dr. Evermor knew what he had to do. He would move to Wisconsin and from relics of the industrial age, he would build the Forevertron. This circa 1890s spacecraft would be his salvation.
Recycling Industrial History
Fortunately, Dr. Evermor had friends in the right places. Soon he was assembling salvaged materials from Every’s warehouse, building what would grow to be his 300-ton contraption. The Forevertron is made up of carburetors and generators, early x-ray machines and theater speakers, river barges and hamburger signs, to name just a few of its components. The end result is important to Dr. Evermor. Possibly more important, however, is that each historic piece speak for itself. His aim is to blend these objects while preserving their individuality and unique form: “Rather than imposing one’s will on something that’s already been created, you leave it alone and you just add or move another piece in as a blender that’ll tie it from one to another… things that were of historic significance we leave alone.” For example, the pair of late nineteenth-century bi-polar dynamos acquired from the Henry Ford Museum stand on their own while being seamlessly integrated into the Forevertron.
La Pièce de Résistance
Of all the parts used to build the Forevertron, Dr. Evermor is especially proud of one: the decontamination chamber from the Apollo Space Mission. He recounts the history of its salvage: "The Apollo decontamination chamber was in three trailers [donated to a university]. We wrecked and scrapped most of it, but I kept the two autoclaves that the moon rocks were passed through. We contacted NASA to try to get papers authenticating it, and boy—they're very touchy about what happened to that stuff. We did get the original drawings and it's the same damn thing."
The Forevertron is a masterfully crafted 300-ton sculpture made of recycled parts. Above thrusters and electromagnetic power sources sits a glass ball inside a copper egg which will serve as Dr. Evermor’s space capsule. Peripheral parts include the Overlord Master Control, which functions as the electric hub and brain of the Forevertron. The Gravitron will shrink Dr. Evermor down in preparation for space travel. The Celestial Listening Ear allows Evermor to broadcast his observations from space to those back home.
It’s all in his Head
Possibly the most amazing thing about the Forevertron and other Dr. Evermor sculptures is there are no blueprints. The plans reside only in Dr. Evermor’s brain: “No sketches, no models, no nothing. I just go for it.” Many of these sculptures, like the Juicer Bug, for example, weigh more than 15 tons. The body of the Bug was hoisted onto spindly legs, a tricky proposition for even the most adept engineer. Dr. Evermor has learned to rely on his own calculations. As he says, “no engineering firm could compute the compression on these legs.”
Preserve the Past, Highball it to the Future
The Forevertron accomplishes several ends for the resourceful Dr. Evermor. On a historical level, it preserves the shapes, forms and mechanisms of the fast-disappearing industrial age. On a creative level, the Forevertron is nothing short of art. It is the world’s largest and most visually balanced kinetic sculpture. And, on a purely practical level, the Forevertron will allow Dr. Evermor to achieve his dream. With his invention, on a magnetic lightning force field, he will highball himself to heaven–far from the "phoniness of this world.”
An event like the Forevertron launch should not be missed and Dr. Evermor has designed his nineteenth-century theme park with the crowds in mind. For those who come to witness “history,” Every promises a treat for the senses. Eyes will feast on the mass and grace of the Forevertron. Ears will take in the musical sounds of the 70-member bird band, whimsically delicate creatures made from brass bedposts, survey markers and gasoline nozzles. Taste buds will be treated to popcorn the old fashioned way, served from a turn-of-the-century popcorn stand. The Epicurean, a wheeled cart of Dr. Evermor’s design, features a striped canopy, a chimney, enormous bellows and a barbecue pit six feet wide.
The Forevertron is located behind Delaney’s Surplus, across the highway from the Badger Army Ammunition Factory on State Highway 12, seven miles south of Baraboo, Wisconsin and seven miles north of Prairie du Sac. It can be visited on Monday through Saturday from 9AM to 5PM and on Sunday from 12 to 5PM. Times subject to change.
The Forevertron and other sculptures created by Dr. Evermor from relics past can be visited Monday through Saturday, 9:00-5:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00-5:00 p.m. Times subject to change. If you visit on a warm spring day, you might even catch the pith-helmeted nineteenth-century Victorian inventor on the premises.
"I became Dr. Evermor around 1983 when we started to build the Forevertron. I was a bit upset with the world, not so much the economic conditions as the judicial system and things like that, and I wanted to perpetuate myself back into the heavens on this magnetic lightning force field."
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