Beginning with the blacksmith shop of German immigrant Meinrad Rumely (1823-1904), this successive family of firms invented and produced a line of agricultural equipment that played a vital role in the evolution of farming based on the muscle of humans and animals to one based on the power of the steam and ultimately the internal-combustion engine. The M. & J. Rumely Co. became the M. Rumely Co., and then the Advance Rumely Co. The Allis-Chalmers Company acquired the business in 1931.
Installed alongside an Epping Carpenter pump that was later scrapped, this water pump was built by Allis-Chalmers, which for many years had Edwin Reynolds as its chief engineer. Driven by a Corliss steam engine, these large city water pumps were installed in Jacksonville's water supply improvement program in 1915, and each pumped 5 million gallons of water a day until 1930 when the first of the electric-driven peripheral pumping stations began operating. Steam engine operation was discontinued in 1956.
This collection includes many examples of advances in mechanical refrigeration for residential and commercial applications, dating from about 1890 to 1960. Such devices dramatically improved food storage safety and convenience and set high standards for mechanical reliability. The RRM collection contains products of such pioneers in the refrigeration industry as Frigidaire, Philco, Sunbeam, and Tecumseh. An archive is available to help researchers trace the history of the refrigeration industry.
The first authenticated discovery of gold in the U.S. occurred on the Cabarrus County farm of John Reed in 1799, sparking the nation's first gold rush. During its peak years, more than a million dollars of gold was recovered a year, making North Carolina a leader in gold production until 1848. This mill, built by the Mecklenburg Iron Works of Charlotte, North Carolina, is original except for the timber work. Two groups of five 750-pound stamps with 5- to 7-inch lift, rose and fell thirty-five times a minute to yield a finely crushed ore.
Steam and the inexpensive electricity it could produce brought about dramatic technical growth in the United States. Developed during the last century, reliable and efficient steam engines were the forerunners of today's massive generating facilities. A rare survivor of the period, the Pratt facility is the oldest generating plant of its kind in the Northeast and embodies the typical features of engines in a row, open-front marble switchboard, and an observation balcony at street level.
The Port Washington Power Plant of the Wisconsin Electric Company was the most thermally efficient steam power plant in the world for many years following its opening in 1935. Its design reflected the cumulative experience of the utility's engineers in burning pulverized coal at the Oneida Street Plant and the Lakeside Station in Milwaukee.
Used to lift molten iron to molds where it was cast into pipe, jib cranes were the sole means of conveyance in the pit-casting process. When pit casting was replaced by centrifugal casting in the 1920s, many pits were filled and the cranes were used to produce cast iron fittings or general maintenance work. Only one jib crane remained at the American Cast Iron Pipe Company in recent years, and it was probably the last pit-cast jib crane to operate, which it did until it was given to the Sloss Furnace Museum in early 1986.
In the late 1920s, the automobile cut railroad passenger service by more than half. The debut of the Pioneer Zephyr heralded a comeback in 1934, touring the country and being seen by some two million people in 222 cities.
At a time when steam power was finding its first uses in America, Philadelphia opened two steam pumping stations, January 1801, to lift water from the Schuylkill River and distribute it through the city's wooden pipes and mains. By 1811 a new water power works was begun on the river near Morris…Read More
The historic Folsom Power House #1 marks one of the first successful uses of hydroelectric power in the world and the first successful transmission of power long distance (twenty-two miles to Sacramento). The old Folsom Power House still shelters the machinery generated to drive streetcars and…Read More
The Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel is a unique experimental facility for hydrodynamic research and testing. The 48-inch (1.2-meter) diameter water tunnel enables the research staff to conduct basic and applied investigations in the fields of cavitation, hydroacoustics, turbulence, transition,…Read More
A variety of mechanical feeders, including drag-chain conveyors and rotary pocket feeders, historically have been used to volumetrically control the flow of fuel to coal pulverizers on power generators. Most power generation in the United States has relied on burning fossil fuels in steam…Read More
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…Read More
This is an old technology brought here by new immigrants. It represents the beginning of modern life in a hard wilderness. This wind-powered gristmill was built in 1870 by Fred Meiss, Jr., and Otto Fiek near Spring Creek, from parts of the first windmill in the new state of Texas, erected by E.G…Read More
The Hanford B-Reactor was the first plutonium production reactor to be placed in operation. Its success made possible the subsequent development of atomic energy. The research work, engineering, and planning required to make the reactor operate is one of our most advanced achievements. Much of…Read More
The first practical demonstration of this tractor took place in a peat field on Roberts Island on November 24, 1904, and was patented and in production by December of 1907. The existing machine represents the earliest gasoline-powered track-type tractors that were to help revolutionize…Read More
Better known as the "Spruce Goose," the Howard Hughes Flying Boat was designed and built by Hughes Aircraft Co., to be the largest wood-constructed and the largest wingspan airplane ever built. As Hughes perfected his craft, he added significantly to what is known in areas of large-lift…Read More