New Hampshire Historical Society librarian William Copeley will speak on the history of one of New England’s most significant carriage builders and maker of the Concord Stage Coach, the Abbot-Downing Company of Concord, N.H., at the Owls Head Transportation Museum on Saturday, Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

The program will be a narrated visual history of the Abbot-Downing Company, which was in business from 1813 to 1928. It manufactured about 40 different styles of horse-drawn vehicles, and also built motor trucks in latter years. Its best-known creation was the Concord Coach, which was instrumental in opening the western United States, eventually acquiring a worldwide reputation.

Copeley’s presentation will include images of various styles of vehicles made by the company, close-up views of the very well-preserved coach on display at the New Hampshire Historical Society’s museum in Concord, views of the company’s factory, and slides of advertising material. He will also bring two or three unique show and tell items that he has personally selected from the historical society’s nationally significant collection of Abbot-Downing Company records.

The Owls Head Transportation Museum’s own original 1850s-era Concord Coach will also be on display.

A native of northern New York state, Copeley received a bachelor’s degree in science and humanities from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970 and a master’s degree in American studies from the University of Wyoming in 1973. He has been a staff member of the New Hampshire Historical Society since 1973, and has been its librarian since 1987. This program has been presented at over 40 historical societies and libraries in New Hampshire but never before outside of New Hampshire.

The History of Abbot-Downing is the second in a series of six Winter Education programs offered by the Owls Head Transportation Museum. All programs begin at 1 p.m. The free programs are general seating.

The remaining Winter Education programs at the Owls Head Transportation Museum are:

• Feb. 6: The Tools of Transportation. Museum volunteer and tool collector Victor Hotho will introduce his audience to the tools that made transportation possible from the 18th to the early 20th centuries.

• Feb. 27: Through the Snow: Horse-Drawn Winter Transportation. Representatives from the Carriage Museum at Skyline Farm will conduct a roundtable discussion on the history of horse-drawn transportation in winter.

• March 13: Carts & Carriages, Curricles & Cabs: The Art and Style of American Horse Drawn Vehicles. Author and curatorial chairman for the Carriage Museum of America, Ken Wheeling, will provide an overview of horse-drawn vehicles in America.

• April 3: Looking Astern: An Artist’s View of Maine’s Historic Working Waterfronts. Local artist Loretta Krupinski will present from her new book of the same title. Her work presents “arrested moments in time from 1850 to 1940 along Maine’s working waterfronts.”

The Owls Head Transportation Museum is located at 117 Museum St. (off Route 73) in Owls Head, two miles south of Rockland. For more information call 594-4418 or visit