Stationary Steam Preservation!

An Exhibit in the Making at the Camp Creek Threshers

by Derek Miller

The purpose of this website is to be an informative look into the world of stationary steam engine preservation, restoration, and operation.  In this particular case the subject is my involvement in creating the stationary steam engine exhibit at the site of the Camp Creek Antique Machinery and Threshing Association show grounds near Waverly, Nebraska.  I hope this site will be interesting for those who already work with similar engines and exhibits as well as informative for those who may not be familiar with this area of past steam power technology. 

Background of the Project:

I have always been interested in antique machinery and especially steam engines of all kinds.  My hands on involvement began in 1993 when my father had the opportunity to acquire a 1917 16 HP Minneapolis steam traction engine.  We are members of the Camp Creek Threshers and have displayed the engine at the annual summer show for some years now.  In 1992 the organization had the opportunity to acquire a large Worthington steam engine powered air compressor from the Burlington Northern Railroad.  Several years ago the building to house this engine was completed and I took on the project of reassembling the engine at that time.  In the past several years we have been fortunate to have many opportunities to acquire other pieces of equipment for eventual use in the display as well.   

The Exhibit:

The exhibit will eventually include two large stationary steam engines as well as several steam pumps, boiler, and a rare Caterpillar diesel generator set to provide 3 phase electricity for the boiler equipment.  Below are pictures and a brief description of the different pieces that will eventually be a part of the display.  To learn more about a particular piece please click on the pictures or follow the links at the left of the screen. 

Worthington Corliss Steam Engine Powered Air Compressor

This engine was originally built in 1918 and bought by the CB&Q Railroad for use in the Havelock, Nebraska locomotive rebuild shops.  It was operational until 1989 and was donated to the Camp Creek Threshers in 1992 by the Burlington Northern Railroad.  This engine is currently under restoration.

Allis-Chalmers Corliss Steam Engine Generator

This engine was purchased in 1916 by Hannah's Manufacturing in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  In 1938 the engine was purchased by the state of Nebraska for use in the Ingleside state hospital near Hastings alongside another existing Allis-Chalmers Corliss Generator.  Both engines were operable until the early 1970's and generated electricity for the hospital complex.  This engine was donated to the Camp Creek Threshers in 2000.

Steam Pumps

We have also been fortunate to acquire several steam pumps from the power houses where both the Worthington and Allis-Chalmers engines came from.  These are vacuum and water pumps of several different manufacturers and styles. 

Cleaver-Brooks Boiler

We were extremely fortunate to acquire this boiler from the retired Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant near Grand Island, Nebraska in 2000.  This boiler was built in 1968 and provided steam in production line 5 of the ammunition plant.  This fully automatic boiler may not be an antique but should prove to be a very interesting exhibit as an example of an operating stationary steam plant. 

Caterpillar Generator Set

Three phase electricity is not available at the organization's show grounds so this generator set made a perfect solution for supplying electricity for the boiler and its supporting equipment.  This set was used as an emergency standby generator in one of the boiler houses of the Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant.  Southern Public Power District generously donated this generator in 2000.