As all readers of the House Organ know, the editorial staff delights in traveling to all sorts of neat places, and then writing stories about what we've seen as means of encouraging you to go there too. Not the least of these visits was one to the Steam Museum in Kingston, Ontario, this past summer.
Kingston is on Lake Ontario, roughly directly north of Watertown, New York. 80 to 100 years ago a pumping station was developed on the lake shore to handle the distribution of water throughout the city's water mains, and it eventually acquired a big Corliss engine to do the job. Some years back the use of this engine and its related equipment was discontinued, and it and the building fell into disrepair.
When you visit the Pump House Steam Museum, tell the receptionist that you read about it in 'The Vestal Press House Organ.' You'll probably get a blank stare, as they have probably never heard of us.
This engine is not a model, but an original from a Cretors Popcorn Wagon. Vestal Press reprint #A-69 shows this very type of engine in use on old Cretors machines, where they performed yeoman service in turning the poppers and operating the little clown, on some models, who turned the peanut roaster.
As visitors approach the grounds of the Pump House Museum, they are greeted by this 'Amazing Pollution-Free Engine.' It actually operates, turning over very slowly all day long.
On a sunny August day, the historic town of Kingston is a delightful place to visit. While you're there, be sure to take in the Maritime Museum which has many artifacts of steamship life on the great lakes.
Now if there's one thing that steam fans can't stand, it's an idle steam engine, and one might well assume that this equipment was predestined to run again ... and indeed it did, with a lot of hard work by a lot of volunteers who got busy and put everything back in shape and made the whole place whir and hum again.
Today these volunteers have succeeded in putting on the map a place where all of us who like to see such machinery can really get a big thrill, because it's an operating establishment, not in the sense of pumping water, but enough steam is generated so that most of the engines and now there's a great collection of them actually operate. We were especially intrigued by the one on the front lawn, labelled 'Amazing New Pollution-Free Engine!'
Bits and Bytes and Integrated Circuits are the wave of the future, we suppose, but there's nothing quite like being able to stand right next to a fine old steam engine as it goes through its paces, as all steam buffs know. Go to Kingston and see a piece of the action there!