By the Way


| November/December 1972



Tennessee-Kentucky Thresherman's Association Show

Two shots taken at the Tennessee-Kentucky Thresherman's Association Show in July 1972. Courtesy of J. A. Miller, Route 1, Russellville, Kentucky 42276.

J. A. Miller

We thank Mr. and Mrs. E. Thos. Hastings of The Journal newspaper, Fort Recovery, Ohio 45846 for permission to use the picture and article from their November 26, 1970 paper.

We also thank Bob Cotner, Assistant Professor in Department of English at Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland 20850, for his permission to use this writing on the Corliss. We feel sure our readers will be interested as it is good history and all steam.

Mr. William T. Richards, R. D. 2, Granville, Ohio 43023 did all the corresponding and sent us the article to him we are also appreciative.

PROVIDENCE, R. I. Few people today have heard of the name George Henry Corliss. But a hundred years ago the name Corliss was as familiar to Americans as the name Westinghouse is to them today.

In 1870 George H. Corliss owned and operated the largest industrial plant on the East coast, located here in Providence, R. I. The Corliss Steam Engine Co. itself consisted of nine buildings that stretched along the Moshassuck River and was served by both railroad and river traffic. Corliss had become involved in steam engine building in 1847, when the company capital was valued at $36,767.26. He built the company on the strength of his personal integrity and the success of his improvements to the common industrial steam engine, to be worth $295,323.07 by the 1860's.

It was during the 1860's that Corliss was called upon by the War Department of Washington to cast the turret for the iron-clad warship, 'The Monitor'. But it was for his improvement to the steam engine, the major source of all motive power in the 19th and early 20th centuries, that Corliss achieved his reputation and fortune. He received more than 70 patents for improvements to the stationary steam engine, and, when his patents became public property in 1870, manufacturers around the world began producing 'Corliss' steam engines. Volume 21 (1768) of Engineering (London) alone carried articles on four different Corliss engines, each built in different countries and only one built by Corliss himself.