Tag Archives: Cornish engine

Where is the President Steam Engine?

Sat here in Cornwall its very hard to imagine the location of the President Cornish Engine house, many miles away across the other side of the Atlantic.  In this blog I will therefore delve into the wonders of the internet to  pin down this important reminder of Cornish engineering in the USA.  Have a go at armchair mine exploration.

Damian Nance in his article in the International Steam engine Society Bulletin describes the engine’s location as:

“On the south-eastern outskirts of Allentown, Pennsylvania, just over half a kilometer south of interstate 78”

Where is Allentown?

My first stop, was  to use google Earth to find Allentown-

allentown

Click here for map>

Where is the engine house?

Mark Connor describes the engine house’s location as

“The remains of the massive pump which provided water control for the mine consist of the stone walls of the engine house structure and they are located on the south west corner of Old Bethlehem Pike and Center Valley Parkway in Friedensville, Upper Saucon”

Using this information, and some wandering around google maps, I managed to find its location, and here it is on Google earth:

PresidentEHGE

This view looked promising,  a large flooded working with some obvious mine waste surrounding it, but no obvious engine house. But, When I clicked on the  google earth 3D button, and wandered around...and there it was!

PresidentEH3dGoogle

Stood on the edge of the flooded workings, surrounded by trees was the massive walls of the house. I next tried street view, but no how many times I wandered the roads around the location using googles little yellow man, I could not grasp a glimpse of the engine house remains. There is just far too much vegetation obscuring the view.

PresidentEH3dGoogle2

Now that I have tracked down where the mine is, my next task in this series will be to explore when the engine operated, to link its time line with that of William West. However, after that little journey into the world of Google Earth I am tempted to have a few more hunts around the world for Cornish Engine Houses.

 

 


 

wpid-wp-1435842521499.jpeg For an exploration of a Victorian Cornish Mining Map download a sample of my Kindle edition of The Liskeard Mining District in 1863.

Prime members can borrow the book for free.

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Cornish Engines, Consolidated, Taylor and Woolf

In the history of technological advances there are many players. Some who invent, some who develop and those who exploit. John Taylor’s importance is beyond all of these, and this post will explore his role.

Beam

Alongside the huge financial success of Consolidated mine was some amazing engineering achievements. Here would be erected some of the most impressive machines of the  industrial revolution.

When John Taylor re-opened Consolidated in 1818 he appointed Arthur Woolf has his engineer.  This alliance of Woolf’s and Taylor resulted in Consolidated becoming  central to high pressure steam engine development.

Woolf introduced many important developments to steam engine design at Consolidated, whilst Taylor used the engines to gather data on Cornish engine performance. One of the most significant developments was the introduction of a design of steam valve to work with high pressure steam. This ‘double beat’ valve was an adaption of a valve invented by another Cornish engineer, Joe Hornblower. Woolf’s new valve played a major role in rapid rise in Cornish engine performance. It also provided the concept for West’s and Harvey’s self acting double beat valve, a valve that would transform the water supply industry.

DoubleBeat

Woolf’s valve enabled him to build some some impressive engines at Consols, engineering marvels of their day. Two of them at  90″ diameter were the largest, and most powerful steam engines in the world at that time.

Despite of his success with single cylinder Cornish engines Woolf still believed that his twin cylinder compound  design was superior.

In 1824 Taylor settled the dispute about which design was more efficient by ordering two engines from Woolf, one of each design. These he installed at Wheal Alfred , and then conducted extended trials on the two engines. The single cylinder 90″ (Taylor’s) proved superior, a result that would secure the dominance of the Cornish Engine concept.

In 1827 Taylor’s engine was moved to Consolidated where it was renamed Woolf’s, in honour of the engineer.

When Woolf retired on 1833 his work was taken up by two engineers that he had trained at TaylorsEngineConsols, John Hocking and Michael Loam. This partnership would go on to build for Taylor and Sons, one of Cornwall’s most famous engines, Taylor’s 85″ at United Mines.

There are many giants of steam engineering:  Newcombe, Watt, Trevithick, Hornblower, Woolf, Grose, West, Sims, Hocking  and Loam. Taylor is not amongst those names, but he was closely associated with many of the most important advances. His role was what Roger Burt called a ‘polinator’, or in more modern terminology an ‘enabler.’

Taylor’s influence went beyond his own engineers however, and later posts will explore those influences.

Some additional notes on the engines
One of the 90″ engines at Consolidated was at Bawden’s Shaft on the Wheal Fortune section. Unfortunately, little remains to be seen.Woolf’s shaft is beside the Redruth to Chacewater railway track-bed.  Only scanty remains exist of the 1826 engine house.
Davey’s 80″ engine was one of the best engines on Consolidated, and a high performer. It was designed by Hocking. Remains of two walls still stand.
The ruins of Consolidated Taylor’ s 85″ engine house are still impressive, but this is not the site of the famous Hocking and Loam Taylor’s engine. That lies to the south on the Ale and Cake section of United mines.
United Mines Taylor’s 85″- This engine was renowned for high performance. In its first few years of operation it was the highest performer of Duty in Cornwall, and its entries are the highest in Leans reporter.



 

If the terms Duty and Leans mean nothing, follow this blog as we head towards the Taylor v West Duty battle. Before that however, its a detour down the railway tracks.

Click here for a new Kindle book about Cornish mining based on a John Taylor’s publication.

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