ALLIS-CHALMERS CORLISS GENERATOR ENGINE AND PROJECT HISTORY
This engine was originally ordered by Hannah's Manufacturing of Kenosha, WIsconsin in 1916, and delivered in 1917. The engine was used there until approximately 1938 when it was purchased by the state of Nebraska for use at the state hospital named Ingelside near Hastings (later known as the Hastings Regional Center). Here the engine joined another slightly smaller Allis-Chalmers Corliss generator that was already in place. Both of these engines were operational until the early 1970's to provide electricity for the hospital. After the engines were retired they remained in place in the engine room of the power plant. When I had the opportunity to view these engines in the summer of 1999 it was like a step back in time. Both engines were fully polished and wiped down in their engine room with a fantastic red tile floor around them. Pictured below is the pair of engines as they appeared in the summer of 1999 with the Camp Creek Threshers engine pictured at the right.
Near the end of the winter of 2000 I received a phone call from the head of maintenance for the hospital complex. A decision had been made to install additional heating boilers in the power house and they wanted to use the space occupied by the two large Allis engines. Because of this they were looking for anyone who would be interested in removing and preserving the engines. In the spring of 2000 the Camp Creek Antique Machinery and Threshing Association agreed that we would be interested in the engines. At this time we also entered into a partnership with the Old Trusty Days in Clay Center, Nebraska where both organizations would work together to remove the engines and each would get an engine for displays at their respective shows.
Over a period of about two months both groups worked at disassembling the engines and removing them from the powerhouse. The largest challenge was the fact that all pieces of the engines had to be removed through a 10' x 10' door in the end of the engine room. By the early part of the summer of 2000 the engines were fully removed and were at the grounds for both organizations. In the spring of 2002 both groups were also able to remove the original electrical switchgear for the engines and each organization received half of the panels which are pictured below.
Each of these engines, complete with their original electrical gear will be impressive exhibits when they are reassembled and operating. At this time the Camp Creek Threshers Allis is in storage at the organization's show grounds. Reassembly of this engine will take place after the Worthington Steam Air Compressor is fully restored and the Cleaver-Brooks boiler is operational.
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