How one man’s interest turned into one of the finest transportation collections in the country.
For over 60 years, The Forney Museum of Transportation has been charming visitors with close to 600 artifacts related to the history of transportation. When it comes to the rarity of this collection, the museum speaks for itself. However, the way founder JD Forney acquired these antiques makes it all the more unique.
From an early age JD had an interest in cars, airplanes and all modes of transportation. As he grew older, his love of cars grew stronger and stronger. In the late 1920’s, JD traded his old Model T for a used 1919 Kissel Tourister. He took this car with him when he enrolled at Colorado A&M (you might now know this as Colorado State University…go rams). While attending school JD met his future wife, Rachel Krickbaum, and began to pursue her with his charm, hardworking attitude, and of course… the Kissel Tourister.
As time went on, Mr. Forney was attributed with the invention of the “Forney Instant Heat Soldering Iron” and became the founder of Forney Industries. Forney Industries soon became a popular welding company, and farmers and ranchers around the country desired the welders Forney sold. However, since many of JD’s buyers lacked the financial means to afford his products, he began trading his welders for old cars and carriages. Those vehicles became the first of his one-of-a-kind collection.
In 1955, JD’s wife,“Rae”, and their son Jack secretly plotted to give JD a very special gift. That gift was an automobile near and dear to JD’s heart… you guessed it—an early 1920’s Kissel Tourister, very similar to the model he used to court Rae so many years prior.
In 1961, after several make-shift storage arrangements, Mr. Forney’s collection finally had a permanent place to live and thus The Forney Museum of Transportation was born. The museum was recognized as a non-profit organization in 1964, and exists to collect, preserve and exhibit items related to the history of transportation. Ever since, visitors have had a place to experience the beauty of JD’s collection in addition to the artifacts added after.
Today, the museum includes not only vehicles, but also buggies, motorcycles, steam locomotives, aircraft, rail equipment, toys and more. JD’s company, Forney Industries is also thriving. Forney products can be found in over 20,000 dealer locations or online, and include products in the welding, personal protective equipment, shop tools and abrasives categories.
To learn more about JD and The Forney Museum of Transportation, visit Forneymuseum.com