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Corliss Steam Engine Boiler Group Gear Rooms Smelter Tech: The Corliss Engine

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message 1: by Ainsley (new)

Ainsley Brown | 2 comments Corliss Steam Engine Boiler Group Gear Rooms Smelter Tech: The Corliss Engine
While James Watt’s improvements to the steam engine may have been responsible for giving birth to the industrial revolution it would be the contribution of George Corliss that made it profitable. Watt’s contribution to engine design was one of practicality and reliability. Corliss’s contribution was one of efficiency, creating engines that took advantage of every last drop of energy available to it. Because of these improvements steam engines were finally able to surpass water power in terms of economic feasibility and surge ahead to become the de factor power source of the late 19th century.

On its surface the Corliss styled engine is very similar to its Watt’s style brethren. Steam is delivered into a large cylinder through means of a throttle valve, which is automatically controlled by the engine’s governor. Once inside the cylinder that steam expands and pushes the enclosed piston forward. As the piston moves so to does the connected piston rod, which in turns pushes the crosshead forward along its track.

Meanwhile on the engine’s business end that reciprocating motion of the crosshead is converted into circular motion by means of a connecting rod and crank. The crank rotates a disc which in turn spins the engines drive shaft and connected flywheel. This is all typical when it comes to steam engine design (see my original steam engine post HERE for more info). To see what differentiates this Corliss engine from other steam engines of the period you have to look inside the cylinder itself…
Corliss Steam Engine Boiler Group Gear Rooms Smelter Tech: The Corliss Engine

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message 2: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ewart | 3 comments Rice & Sargent Corliss Engine The Eclipse Corliss Engine Group Classic Engineering

Thanks, Guys!
I have a few "books" to write, but there's not enough time in a day! As to the work, yes, it's a big undertaking. Keep in mind, Steve was full time on this. I worked Saturdays and some vacation days, and evenings making missing parts and researching. Since the first couple of years, others have joined in, some are regulars, some come and go, but it really helps to have a club or team approach to this.

Going into this, I knew it was going to involve a big commitment. I was working on some 7-1/4" gage live steam railroading projects, and building my home shop with side jobs, in between raising 5 kids. The kids were pretty much out of the nest, so it made room for this, but I still had to balance this with my home life and a business. What won out was the chance to work with the actual real thing, not a model or a replica.

It had to be preserved, as a piece of steam history, as a piece of local history, and the story had to be told. It literally was dropped in our laps to do. At every turn of the project, the right amount of money or materials would appear in the nick of time. Every time we couldn't get an approval, someone came through with an alternative to keep the project alive. I will probably never know how many friends we had working behind the scenes on our behalf. While no one could accuse me of being overly devout, I do believe in God and I do believe he likes steam engines, because there could be no other explanation for the amazing good fortune that has accompanied this project.

So, I'd say this to anyone that finds himself in a similar position:
Find a group of like mind friends in your area and just go do it.
Don't be intimidated. Like building a model, it happens one operation at a time, before you know it, you've got a few hundred operations behind you and it starts to come together.
As an unavoidable side effect, you get an education. When I started this project, I knew only the basics about a Corliss engine, less about the L.C. Smith Typewriter Company, and little about stationary steam accessories. Now, ten years later, I can rattle on about any of these topics as long as anyone cares to listen.

In addition, I couldn't begin to count all the great people I have met in the course of doing this. Steamers, teachers, historians, engineers, professors, modelers, engine men, tractor men.....well, you get the idea. It's an enriching experience. And now I get to relive it while telling the story here to a new group of friends! - Jim Mackessy

The Eclipse Corliss Engine Group Classic Engineering

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