This is the oldest operating vessel with a diagonal, compound steam engine, with disc valve gear. Operating at a higher pressure than the oscillating-cylinder engines then used in lake steamers, this type of engine was more powerful and efficient, as well as smaller. The compound engine, built by Sulzer brothers of Winterthur, uses super-heated steam from the boilers in two stages-high and low pressure-before exhausting it into a condenser. The engine produces 650 horsepower, turning two paddle wheels.
The oscillating steam engine, built by John Penn & Sons, is located aboard the famed paddle steamer Diesbar. Diesbar is the second oldest of a fleet of nine paddle steamers in Dresden. What makes the Diesbar unique is its coal fueled engine and single deck design. The John Penn and Sons engine that runs the steamer is the oldest operational marine steam engine in the world. It has been in operation for over 165 years.
On April 21, 1949, a completely outdoor turbine-generator was placed into commercial operation at the Greens Bayou electric power plant--the first fully outdoor unit to operate in the United States. The demand for unprecedented quantities of electricity after World War II pressed utilities to provide addition power quickly. The outdoor design, unlike the traditional large turbine hall, resulted in significant reductions in the cost per kilowatt to build the plant.