Model of a Wooden Steam Boiler

Model of a Wooden Steam Boiler

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This is a model of a wooden steam boiler built in the early 19th century. At that time wrought-iron plates were scarce and expensive in the United States. Most iron plate was imported from England, and domestic ones were crude. This led to the construction of numerous wooden boilers.
Distillers’ wooden vessels, in common use, were modified into steam generators for the early low pressure pumping engines such as those in the Philadelphia and New York City waterworks. This model represents a boiler used until 1815 in the Center Square Waterworks at Philadelphia. The fire was carried in a winding cast-iron flue through the outer chest of five inch white pine. Operating pressure was about 2 ½ pounds per square inch.
The model was built by the Smithsonian in 1934.
Object Name
Boiler, Steam
boiler, steam, model
date made
1801 - 1815
place made
United States: Pennsylvania
overall: 18 3/4 in x 13 1/4 in x 22 1/2 in; 47.625 cm x 33.655 cm x 57.15 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Steam Engines
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Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Power Machinery
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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