Worthington Steam Air Compressor Specifications

General Description:

This compressor is powered by a cross compound steam engine equipped with Corliss Valves.  For a detailed explanation of how these valves function please visit the "Corliss Engine Basics" section of the site.  The particular valve gear arrangement of this engine is referred to as the Laidlaw-Dunn-Gordon type.  This engine is constructed with two pairs of cylinders as seen below on either side of the flywheel.  The steam cylinders are between the crankshaft to the left and the air cylinders to the right.  You can also see that the steam cylinders are not the same size with the one in the far side of the photo being larger.  This is because this is a cross compound steam engine.  In this type of engine the steam from the boiler is expanded first in the smaller high pressure cylinder (in the near side of the photo below) and then passes to the larger low pressure cylinder (on the far side of the photo below) where it is expanded again before being exhausted from the engine.  This is done to achieve higher efficiency by using more of the expansive power of the steam.  

  The air compressor is of the two stage or compound type having two air cylinders.  Air enters the larger or first stage cylinder (on the far side of the photo above) from beneath the floor.  After being compressed here the air passes through a large water cooled intercooler to remove moisture before passing to the smaller second stage or high pressure cylinder (in the lower right of the photo above).  This intercooler is connected to the tops of both of the air cylinders.  The compressed air leaves the high pressure cylinder beneath the floor to be piped wherever it is needed.  The air cylinders are equipped with Laidlaw feather type valves around the diameter of each end of the cylinders.  

An interesting feature of this engine / compressor is the governor.  The engine is equipped with a fly-ball governor which can be seen near the center of the photo above.  However, this governor is intended only to protect the engine from achieving excessive speed.  Normal regulation of the engine is accomplished by an air cylinder and system of links and springs attached to the governor.  This air cylinder is connected to the air discharge line and counteracted by a series of springs.  Under normal conditions the engine is regulated by the air pressure the engine is pumping.  Unlike contemporary electric reciprocating compressors the air cylinders do not unload.  This means that they are always pumping air if the engine is running.  This air regulated governor actually matches the engine speed according to the air demand.  Under low demand and high pressure the engine will slow down.  Under high air demands and lower pressure the engine speeds up.  We intend on being able to demonstrate this unique feature when the engine is again operational.

Below is a Listing of Specific Engine / Compressor Data:

Builder Worthington Pump & Machinery Corporation - Built at the Laidlaw Works in Cincinnati, Ohio
Engine Number L-25991
Type Horizontal Cross Compound Corliss Steam Engine Driven Air Compressor, Laidlaw-Dunn-Gordon valve gear, Laidlaw feather type air valves
Rating 460 Horsepower, 3100 cubic feet per minute air delivery
Steam Cylinders 17" diameter high pressure, 32" low pressure, 30" stroke
Air Cylinders 29" diameter first stage, 16" second stage, 30" stroke
Length, Width, Height 26' 8" length, 13' 2" width, 10' 0" height
Original Price As Installed $23,027

You can view a sample of sales literature for this style of engine by clicking on the picture below

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