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NMIH Corliss & Phillipsburg ‘Big Allis’ Presentation and Tour

May 31, 2019 @ 7:00 am - 9:00 am


For over a decade the National Museum of Industrial History has been working with staff and volunteers to restore a massive 115-ton stationary steam engine to working order.  Now, with the contributions of local companies and thousands of volunteer manhours, the museum’s Corliss water pumping engine runs again, 105 years after being built by the Snow Steam Pump Works in Buffalo, NY.  The engine was used by the York Water Company and pumped 8 million gallons of water a day. Today the engine, the most powerful operating water works steam engine in North America, is a focal point of the museum’s 13,000 square foot exhibit space, where it has painstakingly been repainted to its original color and mechanically restored to its former glory. On May 31st through June 2nd the museum will debut the operational engine to the public for the first time. Patrons will be able to see the engine at work and hear from museum experts and guest lecturers during special programming throughout the weekend which is generously sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and York Water Company..

The Corliss’ debut weekend kicks off on May 31st with a special tour and presentation at 11am.  Participants will gather in the NMIH lobby, then carpool half an hour away to Phillipsburg, NJ where they will see an almost completely intact steam-era waterworks. The Phillipsburg engine is currently down for maintenance, which will allow guests the unique opportunity to climb up and down the five-story tall machine.  Expert guides will discuss the history of the site, restoration work on the engine, and demonstrate the historic electric motor that powered another pump. After a lunch break, the group will return to NMIH where museum historian Mike Piersa will demonstrate the Corliss, detail the restoration process, and describe different aspects of the machine’s operation, from its fourteen foot diameter flywheel to the governor and gauges on the engine.  Admission to the special talk and tour of both engines is $25, with proceeds going to both the National Museum of Industrial History and the Friends of the NJ Transportation Heritage Center to further fund the restoration of historical machinery.


May 31, 2019
7:00 am - 9:00 am