"Lighthall's Improved Horizontal and Beam Engine," Patent Model

This model was submitted to the U.S. Patent Office with the application for the patent granted to William A. Lighthall, of Albany, New York, April 14, 1838, no. 696.
The engine is designed primarily for boat propulsion and permits the use of a horizontal steam cylinder installed low within the boat in combination with a beam working vertically as in a beam engine.
The model is diagrammatic in form, is made of wood, and is not complete. The engine represented is essentially a beam engine laid upon its side so that the cylinder is horizontal and the beam is supported vertically. The patent drawing shows the cylinder placed directly upon the keelson of a boat with the beam held so that the lower end is at the approximate level of the center of the cylinder. A long connecting rod attached to the upper end of the beam reaches back over the cylinder to a crank on the engine shaft, which is located above the cylinder and back of it.
This description comes from the 1939 Catalog of the Mechanical Collections of the Division of Engineering United States Museum Bulletin 173 by Frank A. Taylor.
Currently not on view
date made
patent date
Lighthall, William A.
place made
United States: New York
associated place
United States: New York, Albany
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
on plaque - from catalog card: 18 in x 15 in; 45.72 cm x 38.1 cm
overall: 17 3/4 in x 14 3/8 in x 2 3/4 in; 45.085 cm x 36.5125 cm x 6.985 cm
ID Number
catalog number
patent number
accession number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Industry & Manufacturing
Bulletin 173
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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