We, at the Cedar Valley Engine Club have had the privilege of being able to acquire two fine examples of stationary steam power. The oldest one we acquired from the DoAll company office headquarters in DesPlaines, IL. just outside of Chicago. This particular engine was built, or we should say designed by James Watt, back in the late 1790's. One of the vales on the engine has 1797 stamped in it. The governor was added at a later date as a field improvement. This engine operated a textile mill in England into the 1900's when it was placed into standby service. It was extracted in the 1950's and brought to the United States by Leighton Wilkie at that time. He was putting a personal museum together for his company to show the progress of mechanical industry. When we heard about the engine the building it was housed in was slated to be demolished. A hand full of club members were sent out to see what this engine was and to see if it was worth getting. The response from the exploratory group was we needed to find a way to get the engine extracted and back to Iowa to the show grounds. In the Spring of 2005 we went on a engine retrieval mission. It took us three days to get the engine tore apart and labeled. This couldn't have been done with out the help of some key people from not only the DoAll company but also the crane rental place located next door. After a few trips to Chicago, the Watt Steam engine was in NE Iowa. It did however take more than three days to get it placed back together.
The other engine at our grounds dates from the early 1900's. It is a Nordberg Corliss compressor engine that came out of the Allis Chalmers plant in Laporte, IN. We acquired this engine back in 1985. This engine provided the compressed air for the plants facility.
We feel very fortunate to have two engines that show the evolution of mechanical power from it's infancy to an example nearing the end of Steam Power requirements in the industrial evolution.