Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Big Engine

This is another picture from the Hampton Institute in 1899. The students are being taught Mechanical Engineering. I am not sure what type of engine this is, but it is sure big.


  1. What ever it is, it must be able to go to faster. It has a governor on it, do you see the pole with the 2 big balls on it between the 2 men. That is a governor. It spin according to the speed that the machine is working, and when it spin faster the centrifugal rotation causes the ball to go upwards, and that closes a valve and slow the machine back down. These are generally steam powered, see the white steam pipes overhead.

  2. Thanks, DADD, that is interesting. I really know so little about machinery.

  3. It looks like a single expansion steam engine with a belt drive that goes through the wall opening behind the students. The belt, in turn drove whatever equipment the factory had on line.
    From a safety standpoint it was a dangerous assembly, but that's how they powered many plants at that time.

  4. Great site!



  5. I have to agree with Anon. It is a Corliss steam engine. A Corliss steam engine took the place of the waterwheel, and did use the large leather belts to run the machines in the mills. These engines are what put the early New England textile mills out of business in the 1800's. With a Corliss steam engine, you no longer needed to build a factory by a water source, and the textile industry moved to the South, especially after the Civil War.