Home to four of the world's largest steam engines and an ASCE National Landmark and AWWA Landmark
Chronological Listing for Mechanized Water Pumping

 Part 1 (engines)  |  Part-2 (pumps & steam)  |  Part-3 Construction  |   Introduction


Water pumping engines used at the Greater Cincinnati Water Works

Throughout most of the nineteenth century, faulty water works engines plagued Cincinnati because the superintendents designed them—and experience designing steam engines was not a job requirement! For nearly half of the 1800s, the average term of any superintendent was no longer than two years. Pumping stations in Cincinnati resembled mechanical curiosity shops. Engines were built by contract crews and day laborers, and no sooner were the machines set in motion than they were found defective and expensive to operate; they were as likely to fall out of repair as the old machines they replaced.

Picture descriptions on this page include:

Original Front Street pumping station, powered by horse or oxen, 1821-1824, by: Cincinnati Manufacturing Co.
Pump #1, 1824-1844, 40 HP, 1.2 MGD,  Engine from the Steam Boat Vesta, the first steamboat to be built at Cincinnati's Fulton shipyards in 1816.
Pump #2, Old Betsy #2, 1832-1834, 3 MGD
Pump #3, 1844-1847, Duplex, Design, by George Shield, Built by Yeatman & Shield, Cincinnati, 5 MGD, Duty 60 M
Pump # 4 & 5, 1850/1854, by T. R. Scowden, #4 Built by Harkenss & Sons, 4.5 MGD
Pump #6, 1865, by George Shield, 900 ton, Nile's Works, erection by Cincinnati Water Works, 12 MGD, Duty 30 M
1869, Hunt St. Niles Pump, duplex non-condensing, 4 MGD, Duty 60 M
Niles Tool Works, Hamilton, Ohio
Removing the Niles pump, Hunt St., January, 1895
Removing the Niles pump, Hunt St. Station, July, 1895
Pump #7&8, 1872-1875, by T. R. Scowden. by Cincinnati Stationary Engine & Hydraulic Works, 7.5 MGD, Duty 45 M
1890, Three Auxiliary Stations mounted on inclines could be lowered to water during periods of drought.
1895, Worthington Pump, Hunt St. Station,
1896, Linwood Station, Laidlaw & Dunn Pumps
1896, Linwood Station, Laidlaw & Dunn Pumps, Note elevated tray of "cotton waste" used like rags for clean up
1907, Linwood Pumping Station, Cincinnati Standard Duplex by: The Laidlaw & Dunn Co.
1879, Americus Warden Pump at Hunt St. Station
1879, Americus Warden Pump, Hunt St. Station
Dual Snow Cross compound, Western Hills Station, Snow Steam Pump Works, Buffalo, NY, U.S.A.
Foreground, dual Snow Cross compounds; Background, Dual Holly Triple Expansions, 7 MGD; Western Hills
Worthington Triple Expansion (X3)
Eden Pumping Station, Dual Gaskill cross compound
GCWW Electric Power
Holly Mfg. Drawing 25 MGD Triple Expansion, Main Station, 1906
Holly Mfg. Triple Expansion, Main Station, 1906
Holly Mfg. Triple Expansion, Main Station, 1906
Holly Mfg. Triple Expansion under construction at Main Station, 1906
R. D. Wood Triple Expansion, under construction at River Station, 1906
R. D. Wood Triple Expansion, construction at Camden Iron Works, 1906
R. D. Wood Triple Expansion, River Station, 1906
1907, Western Hills., Holly Mfg. Co., 7 MGD
R. D. Wood & Co. Philadelphia, PA
Camden Iron Works, Camden, NJ
Part of the pipe yard and wharf at the Camden Iron Works, Camden, N