Faber Steam Engine, 1827

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Description (Brief)
The F. & W. M. Faber stationary steam engine was built in Pittsburgh during the 1850’s. Stationary steam engines such as this one could be used to power multiple machines in a shop or factory.
The F. & W. M. Faber stationary steam engine is a rare survivor of pre-1860 American steam power. With a horizontal cylinder and separate bases for the flywheel and engine, the Faber displays features from the dawn of steam usage inside American factories.
Although exceedingly rare today, this engine was offered as an "off-the-shelf" stock engine in 1850s Pittsburgh, where it was built. The engine features exceptional refinement in the degree of ornamentation on the flywheel and the flyball governor, evoking the novelty and wonder of early steam power.
The physical beauty of the Faber engine masks its relative energy inefficiency compared with engines of the period of more robust construction. In addition, records indicate this pretty engine performed the bulk of its actual service inside tanneries in Ohio and Kentucky, where the smells and wet hides and dank darkness would have belied the visions that inspired this engine's elegant design and fabrication.
Currently not on view
F. and W. M. Faber
Place Made
United States: Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh
Physical Description
cast iron (cylinder material)
wood (frame material)
timber bed: 186 in; x 472.44 cm
bore: 6 in; x 15.24 cm
shaft: 76 1/2 in; x 194.31 cm
flywheel: 79 in; x 200.66 cm
overall height: 65 in; 165.1 cm
stroke: 24 in; x 60.96 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of ASME
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Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Industry & Manufacturing
Machine Shop
Energy & Power
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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