Working Industrial Steam Engines

Submitted to Iron-Men Album in 1972, this piece highlights two industrial steam engines at work in Kansas City, Kan.

1000 HP Ingersoll Rand piston valve engines

Shots of the steam engines in use today in the Phillips Petroleum Company in Kansas City, Kansas.

J. G. Flemming

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In most places the old steam engines are a thing of the past and many of the younger people have never seen one, only perhaps in a museum or some other place where old relics are kept.

Phillips Petroleum Company in their Kansas City, Kansas refinery, has the distinction of operating the last two large steam engines in greater Kansas City.

They use two 1000 HP Ingersoll Rand piston valve engines to drive chilling compressors in the manufacturing of Lube Oil. These engines are in good condition and have been used about 25 years and there are not any plans to do away with them.

Phillips completed an expansion and modernization program in 1966. They added a huge new crude unit, a gas recovery plant and new treating and pumping equipment, but they kept the old steamers.

They did however junk two 450 HP Worthington Diesel engines that drove charge pumps on the old crude stills, and several gas engine driven gas compressors in the old gas recovery plant, keeping only a few for stand-by use.

This is also perhaps the only place in the country where the old steam engines have stayed and gas and diesel engines have gone for junk.

(We thank the Phillips Petroleum Company for permission of pictures and information on the article.)