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
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
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