A pair of gigantic Beam engines is featured in motion at the only facility of its kind on the North American continent the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology at Hamilton, Ontario.
This Canadian institution is one which should be visited by all students of steam power. It carries forward a story that began over 130 years ago when the city of Hamilton sought a system to supply residents with clean water, after a disastrous epidemic of cholera.
We felt very fortunate to find this 19th Century set of buildings with tall smokestack, just off the Queen Elizabeth Way about 20 miles northwest of Niagara Falls.
Andy Crawford, a volunteer who is a member of the Hamilton Pump Group of Power Engineers, conducted us through the building and enabled us to take pictures from the top, showing the Beams in action. The group has been elemental in restoration, maintenance and operation of the Gartshore engines.
Some people call it a 'Cathedral of Steam' because of the polished brass, elegant pillars and ornamental woodwork, in the Greek Revival style. The engines were taken out of active use over 70 years ago and stood idle until the engineers got into the move to restore the building and the works in 1982.
The Pump house, a marvel of Victorian engineering, forms the museum's focal point. It has been designated a Canadian Historic Site and Canada's first Civil Engineering Landmark.
An attractive feature of the museum is the Keefer Gallery, named in honor of Thomas C. Keefer, who worked on both the Erie and Well and canals and was one of Canada's leading hydraulic and civil engineers. Changing exhibits show the technology and engineering heritage of Hamilton.
An annual show of antique steam and gas engines is held in July. A model engineering show is planned for December 13, 1987-January 10, 1988, for exhibition of precision models of trains, engines, boats and machines, in conjunction with the Hamilton Model Engineering Club.