Moore Steam Pump, Patent Model

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The model was submitted to the U.S. Patent Office with the application for the patent issued to Ila N. Moore, of Battle Creek, Michigan, June 23, 1891, no. 454753.
The feature of this pump power is a piston with steam ports in the piston leading to the ends of the cylinder and a valve fitted to slide on the elongated and reduced barrel of the spool-shaped piston controlling the admission of steam through the steam ports. The object is to provide a steam pump requiring no steam chest. Steam is admitted at the center of the cylinder through two short passages connecting directly with the steam pipe. Exhaust is to a chamber on the opposite side of the cylinder. A hollow tail rod, gland, and housing form part of the exhaust passage. The piston valve, which slides on the barrel of the piston, is actuated in part by the pressure of the steam and in part by the motion of the piston. Packing rings on the outside of the valve heads operate across the steam inlet ports in the cylinder wall and the lands between grooves in the bore of the valve operate across the ports in the piston barrel.
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
Moore, Ila N.
place made
United States: Michigan, Battle Creek
associated place
United States: Michigan, Battle Creek
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
overall-from catalog card: 14 in; x 35.56 cm
overall: 11 1/4 in x 14 1/4 in x 5 1/4 in; 28.575 cm x 36.195 cm x 13.335 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent 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


I have a Union Steam pump of Moore design that I am trying to make reliable. It has worked on 40-80psi steam but not for long. It stops and needs for the piston to be nudged about 3/8 of an inch to start cycling again. I have tried to analyze the principles that explain its operation by measuring the port locations and laying them out on a drawing but I remain mystified. Any help would be appreciated. Do any drawings of the pump exist?

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