Corliss Steam Engine Company


FirmennameCorliss Steam Engine Company
OrtssitzProvidence (R.I.)
StraßeCharles Street
Art des UnternehmensMaschinenfabrik
AnmerkungenTeilhaber: Corliss, Nightingale, Clark, Scott, Smith, Grenville, Wood. Bis 1857: "Corliss, Nightingale & Co." (s.d.). 1874: G. H. Corliss, Präsident; W. Corliss, Leiter der Finanzen. Nahe Charles-St. Bahnübergang, auch als West River Street 146 angegeben. Lt. Briefkopf (1867+1894): "The Corliss Steam Engine Company" mit D. M. Thompson (Präsident und Finanzleiter), Stephen A. Jenks (Vizepräsident), Wm. B. Sherman (Sekretär) und Chas. E. Giles (Agent). 1888: 5 acres Grundfläche und über 1.000 Beschäftigte. Die "Franklin Machine Company" ist 1925 der Nachfolger der "Corliss Engine Works" (so noch 1868) [Smithsoniancontributions, Internet].
QuellenangabenExponat im Art and Ind. Building, Washington DC. [Wiley: American iron trade manual (1874) 158]
[Bishop: History of American manufacturers 3 (1868) 378]
HinweiseThe company was originally known as Fairbanks, Clark & Co. in the 1830s. In 1843 it was renamed Fairbanks, Bancroft & Co. when Edward Bancroft joined the company. In 1846 it was renamed Bancroft, Nightingale & Co. when Corliss joined the company, and in 1847 it was renamed Corliss, Nightingale and Co. In 1848 the company moved to the location shown in the images above at the Charles Street Railroad Crossing. In 1857 the company was renamed for the last time to Corliss Steam Engine Company. By 1864 Corliss bought out his partners and was the sole owner of the company. George H. Corliss' house can be seen in the middle letter-head behind the factory to the right. In 1900 the Corliss Steam Engine Company was purchased by the International Power Company. The fourth image above shows the factory in 1904. In 1905 it was purchased by the American and British Manufacturing Company. In 1925 the company merged into Franklin Machine Company. By then Franklin Machine Company already owned the William A. Harris Steam Engine Company.


Zeit Ereignis
10.03.1849 George H. Corliss erhält ein Patent zur Verbesserung der Dampfmaschine.
1856 W. A. Harris arbeitet (wie vorher in der "Providence Forge and Nut Company") als Zeichner bei der "Corliss Steam Engine Company". Er bleibt dort 8 1/2 Jahre.
06.1856 Eintragung mit einem Kapital von $300.000
1857 Export der ersten Corliss-Maschine nach Europa durch B. Andreae
1857 Umwandlung aus "Corliss, Nightingale & Co."
01.08.1857 Gründung der "Corliss Steam Engine". Teilhaber sind Corliss, Nightingale, John H. Clark, Scott, A. Smith, Granville, Wood
1858 Bau des ersten Corliss-Balkens
1858 Einführung der Corliss-Krebsscheren-Steuerung ("crab claw gear")
12.07.1859 Nochmalige Erneuerung des 1. Patents auf seine Verbesserungen an der Dampfmaschine. Es wird in sechs neue Patente Nr. 758 bis 763 geteilt. Jedes dieser neuen Patente bezieht sich auf einen bestimmten besonderen Teil der Corliss-Maschine.
1860 J. A. Moncrief tritt in die "Corliss Engine Co." ein, wo er bis 1866 arbeitet
1860 Corliss-Kreuzkopf mit eingegossenem Zapfen
1860 Kurbellager der ersten Corliss-Maschine
1861-1867 Reynolds tritt bei der "Corliss Steam Engine Co." ein.
01.08.1864 W. A. Harris beginnt den Bau von Corliss-Maschinen auf eigene Rechnung, er zahlt dem Erfinder, George H. Corliss, die ausbedungene Lizenzgebühr.
1865 oder 1867 Eingetragen (1865 oder 1867)
1867 Einführung der Corliss-Steuerung 1867 mit Steuerscheibe am Rahmen
1867 Prosper Van Den Kerchove bekommt auf der Weltausstellung in Paris Kenntnis von der Corliss-Dampfmaschine, und er schließt einen Vertrag mit Corliss ab, der seine Erfindung an Kerchove für ganz Europa überläßt.
1867 Corliss gewinnt auf der Pariser Weltausstellung den höchsten Preis, der in dieser Abteilung verliehen wird: Den ersten Preis, im Wettbewerb mit hundert der welt-besten Maschinenbauer. J. Scott Russell, der Planer und Erbauer des großen Dampfschiffs "Great Eastern", das später das Atlantikabel verlegen wird, schreibt als einer der Vertreter der britischen Regierung auf der Ausstellung: "A mechanism as beautiful as the human hand. It releases or retains its grasp on the feeding valve, and gives a greater or less dose of steam in nice proportion to each varying want. The American engine of Corliss everywhere tells of wise forethought, judicious proportions and execution and exquisite contrivance."
1869 N. G. Herreshoff beginnt nach seinem Diplom als Ingenieur bei der "Corliss Steam Engine Co." und ist dort Assistent von G. H. Corliss. Er ist acht Jahre dort tätig.
1869 "C. & G. Cooper" in Mt. Vernon (OH) erhält die Lizenz zum Bau der Corliss-Dampfmaschine
11.01.1870 Die Corliss-Patente erlöschen, und Corliss-Dampfmaschinen werden von vielen anderen Fabriken gebaut.
1871 Edwin Reynolds wird Generalbetriebsleiter der "Corliss Engine Works".
1873 Corliss stellt auf der Weltausstellung in Wien nicht aus, erhält aber die goldene Medaille, da die Mehrzahl der dort aufgestellten Maschinen nach seinem System gebaut sind.
1875 Verwendung der "neuen Corliss-Steuerung" bei allen seinen Maschinen
01.1875 Corliss legt Pläne für den Bau einer 1.400-PS-Dampfmaschine für die Weltausstellung in Philadelphia vor
1876 N. G. Herreshoff ist am Bau der großen Corliss-Maschine für die "Centennial Exposition" in Philadelphia 1876 beteiligt, und deren Aufstellung ist ein Teil seiner Arbeit.
1876 N. G. Herreshoff scheidet bei der "Corliss Steam Engine Co." aus, um mit seinem Bruder eine Partnerschaft einzugehen.
10.04.1876 Die "Corliss Centennial Engine" für die Weltausstellung zu Philadelphia wird fertiggestellt
10.05.1876 Feier zur Inbetriebnahme der "Corliss Centennial Engine" auf der Weltausstellung zu Philadelphia: Tausende von Menschen versammeln sich, als Präsident Ulysses Grant und der brasilianische Kaiser Dom Pedro jeder einen Hebel umlegen, um die Maschine in Bewegung zu setzen.
1877 Bis 1877 ist Reynolds an der weiteren Entwicklung der Corliss-Maschinen beteiligt.
1877 Aufstellung des Vakuumzylinders unten auf das Fundament
1900 Übernahme durch die "International Power Co."
1905 Kauf durch die "American and British Manufacturing Co."
1925 Die Firma wird in die "Franklin Machine Co." verschmolzen.


Produkt ab Bem. bis Bem. Kommentar
Dampfkessel 1891 [Power Magazine (1897) Anzeige] 1891 [Power Magazine (1897) Anzeige] "Corliss Patent Vertical Tubular Water Lec Boiler"
Dampfmaschinen 1857 Beginn (ex Corliss, Nightingale & Co.) 1900 Übernahme durch "International Power Co.)  

Firmen-Änderungen, Zusammenschüsse, Teilungen, Beteiligungen

Zeit = 1: Zeitpunkt unbekannt

Zeit Bezug Abfolge andere Firma Kommentar
1857 Umbenennung zuvor Corliss, Nightingale & Co.  
1925 Umbenennung danach Franklin Foundry and Machine Co.  


TEXTOn March 10, 1849, we find in the Patent Office Reports that a patent was granted to George H. Corliss, of Providence, for an improvement in the Steam-Engine. Such an announcement is usually the epitaph, as well as the introduction of an invention; and as the improvements in Steam-Engines which have been patented exceed a thousand - one hundred and sixty-nine having been patented in a single year - the fact that any one of them is remembered at all, is in itself evidence that it possesses more than ordinary value. But of all the inventions that have been made during the last twenty years, there are few, if any, which have attracted a larger share of public attention than Mr. Corliss' improvements in the Steam-Engine - none probably, unless it be the inventions in India Rubber, that have passed through ordeals so costly and trying - or which have more triumphantly vindicated their claims to a high rank in the list of American inventions. We shall state, as briefly and succinctly as we can, the object and nature of these important improvements. The object of Mr. Corliss' improvement was to secure a more equable motion to stationary engines than had been before obtained by rendering the regulator purely automatic and practically perfect, and to save fuel by applying and utilizing the entire expansive force of the steam. Previous to his invention it had been the practice to construct engines in which the steam and exhaust-ports of the cylinder are opened and closed by slide-valves, with valves connected rigidly - that is, where one was moved, the other moved with it to the same extent - and it was found that the force required to move the valve while closed, its office having been performed, was expended fruitlessly, and tended only to increase the wear and tear of the engine. Mr. Corliss proposed to avoid the sacrifice of power by moving each of the steam and exhaust-valves independently by means of one crank-wrist, of a series which are all attached to a common disc, wrist-plate, or other equivalent device, which is secured to and moved with a rock shaft. The several wrists which work the different valves are arranged upon the wrist-plate in such positions with respect to the rods and levers, or other devices which connect them with the valves, that they shall act like so many cranks, each of which vibrates near its dead point, or point of slowest throw, and therefore imparts but little movement to the valve it actuates when the latter is closed : while each moves with its fastest throw, and therefore communicates the greatest movement to its valve when the latter is open. In addition to this, Mr. Corliss invented a method of regulating the cut-off of steam in its passage to the engine, by combining the governor with the catches, that liberate the steam-valves by means of movable cams or stops, so that when the velocity of the engine is too great these cams will be moved by the regulator to such positions that catches on the valve-rods may the sooner come in contact with them to liberate the valves and admit of their being closed by the force of weight or springs, and thus cut off the steam in proportion to the velocity of the engine - this being done sooner when the velocity of the engine is to be reduced, and later when it is to be increased. In this arrangement throttle-valves are dispensed with altogether, and the governor adjusts the motion by indicating the change required to the levers which move the steam-valves, which are opened or shut by quick or sudden motions, and thus the whole expansive power of the steam is saved and used. In other words, the regulation of the engine is made perfect by the peculiar way of combining the governor with the cut-off, and the cut-off is made perfect by the automatic adjustability secured by that connection. No one can fail to see that these improvements, if in practice they are found effective, must be of vast utility. A leading authority on the steam-engine, says the apparatus for opening and closing the passages is of more importance to the perfection of the steam-engine than any other part of its mechanism. These improvements may be said in fact to have revolutionized the construction of the steam-engine; and in view of the history of other meritorious inventions, one is not surprised to learn that the inventor and his friends have been compelled to expend nearly $75.000 in establishing the claims and defending the rights guaranteed to him by the patent laws. But after a thorough investigation, or, to use the language of the Commissioner of Patents in granting an extension of these patents, May 9, 1863, after "every means which the highest abilities and great legal sagacity and experience could suggest were used to secure a correct decision", the Court decided that the invention was "new and patentable." (1) The following is the Opinion of the Commissioner in full: U. S. Patent Office, March 9, 1863. In the matter of the application of George H. Corliss for the extension of six Patents re-issued to him on the 12th of July, 1859, for improvement in Steam-Engines. The original Patent was granted on the 10th of March, 1849; re-issued on the 10th of May, 1851; and re-issued, divided into six patents, on the 12th of July, 1859. The novelty of the invention has thus been three times affirmed by the Office - and four of the six patents have passed the ordeal of a most thorough and able examination in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Connecticut, the other two having never been controverted. The court was composed of Judge Nelson of the Circuit, and Judge Shipman of the District. The counsel on both sides were among the most distinguished attornies of the country. Experts were examined - models and drawings were exhibited - and every means which the highest abilities and great legal sagacity and experience could suggest, were used to secure a correct decision. The Court, after a thorough investigation, decided that the invention was "new and patentable." Incident to the present application for an extension of these patents, the question of novelty has been again submitted to the decision of this office, and the Examiner-in-charge has an an original report made a statement of facts and deductions therefrom strictly accordant with these several prior decisions. All the inventions alleged by the present remonstrants to interfere with the claims of the petitioner were before the court in the contest already referred to, and were minutely described, and compared with or contrasted to his invention. As nothing has been found in the record which appears to justify any exception to the decision so uniformly reiterated, it is not now necessary to recite descriptions of the several inventions, nor to analyze them for the purpose of showing the essential difference of points alleged to be substantially the same. It is deemed sufficient for mo to say, that having examined the invention comprehended in the petitioner's several reissued patents by the light of the entire ecord, and with the most careful consideration of the objections and arguments of the remonstrants and their learned counsel, I can find no sufficient reason for refusing the prayer of the petitioner because of any lack of patentable novelty in his invention, whether with respect to the precise combination described in the several claims, or to their equivalents. No question has been raised in relation to the usefulness and importance to the public of this invention; nor, in view of the testimony elicited, and of the admissions made, can such question be reasonably entertained, except in its bearing upon the question of the adequacy of the remuneration already realized by the inventor - in relation to which it may be afirmed, that the invention, being confessedly of vast importance, and the ingenuity, time, persistence in labor, capital invested originally, and expense incurred in. introducing it to the public and in defending the right guaranteed by the patent laws, all being great, the remuneration already received as shown in the statement of the petitioner, is regarded as falling far short of an equitable reward. It is therefore ordered, that the said Letters Patent, numbered respectively 763, 759, 760, 758, 761, 762, and reissued to George H. Corliss, on the 12th of July, 1859, be and the same are hereby extended for the term of seven years from and after the expiration thereof D. P. Holloway, In introducing these Engines the inventor and manufacturers adopted the novel plan of offering to take the saving in fuel, in a given time, as their pay, or a stipulated amount in cash, at the option of the purchaser. To the %%James Steam Mills, at Newburyport, Mass., they offered to furnish two new high-pressure engines with 18-inch diameter of, cylinder, 4 feet stroke of piston, and take, in lieu of a stipulated sum, five times the value of the coal saved the first year, the coal being reckoned at six dollars per ton. The amount received by the manufacturers under this arrangement was 19.734 22, the saving in coal during the first year being 3.946 84; and in addition, Wm. C. Balch, Agent and Treasurer of these mills, certifies that there was ten per cent, increased production, «o that the actual saving in a cotton mill of 17.024 spindles in one year was 4.341 28. To the %%Ocean Steam Mills, at Newburyport, Mass., they proposed to take their former engines as they stood, and furnish a new one, for the saving of fuel in two and a half years, or for 3.000 in cash, at the option of the purchasers. The proprietors decided to pay the cash sum, and did wise by so doing, as the saving in fuel amounted to three thousand dollars in about two years. To Messrs. Crocker, Brothers & Co., proprietors of the Copper-Rolling Mill at Taunton, Mass., they proposed to furnish an Engine that would do one-third more work than the one they were using, with a consumption of less than one-half the coal, namely, two tons for five, or forfeit one dollar per pound for every pound per day used above that amount. The proprietors certify, that though they increased the work of the engine about one-third by the addition of machinery, and also increased the production of their mill by the uniformity of motion secured by the improvements in the mode of regulation, yet the average consumption of Pennsylvania coal has not exceeded two gross tons per day; or, in other words, the real difference in the engines, in proportion to the amount of work performed, was 2 tons against 6 2/3 tons. To the Atlantic Delaine Mills, Commissioner of Patents. Providence, R. I., whose engines previously required six tons of coal per day, they proposed to furnish new engines that would give the same power at an expenditure of coal not exceeding three tons per day, under a penalty of one dollar per pound for every pound of coal consumed beyond that amount, and pay 25 per day for every day during the first year that the engine should fail to give the requisite motive power The actual amount of coal consumed by the new engine was less than two and a half tons per day. Such contracts as these strike us as curious, and certainly evince in a remarkable manner the confidence of the manufacturers in the value of Mr. Corliss' improvements. At the present time, as their engines are now working in several hundred of the largest manufactories of the country, and their value so well attested, we presume it would be difficult for them to make contracts payable in saving of fuel. The Works of the Corliss Steam-Engine Company are among the most prominent of the manufacturing establishments of Providence. They are among the first objects that attract the attention of passengers entering the city by the railroads from Boston and Worcester. They were built during the years 1848, '49 and '50, and occupy an area of nine acres. The Machine Shop alone covers about an acre of ground, being 608 feet long, with an average width of 70 feet. The Boiler Shop, Smiths' Shop, Iron and Brass Foundries, are all spacious, and well-equipped with appropriate tools. The Patterns are made and stored in a separate building, which contains large and airy Drafting Rooms in its second story. In their aspect, and especially in the interior arrangement, these buildings present a marked contrast to works of a similar description, being light, cheerful and comfortable, a circumstance that not only imparts pleasure to visitors, but conduces to the health of the workmen employed. The capacity of this establishment for dispatching work will be inferred when we state that an order for an Engine of 350-horse power, including boilers and all the appurtenances, has been executed in sixty days - and also including a gear fly-wheel of 25 feet diameter, 18-inch face, 5,25-inch pitch, weighing 64.000 pounds, turned, and with cogs on the face cut with the accuracy of clock-work. Finer specimens of workmanship than some of the engines turned out at these works are not produced in this country or in Europe. Within the last ten years Mr. Corliss has patented a number of very important improvements having relation to the objects of the Company's manufactures. Among those which are probably destined to prove of the greatest practical importance, we would instance his recent invan-tion for obviating the necessity of using salt water in Marine Engines, by the substitution of an Improved Boiler with an apparatus for condensing and using over again the waste steam. The corrosive action of salt water upon iron boilers is so destructive, that those of the best construction rarely last more than three or four years, while iron cylinder boilers, where pure water is used, are found practically to last fifteen or twenty years without becoming destroyed by rust or decomposition. The external view of Mr. Corliss' new boiler is simply a dome about eleven feet in diameter, with eight furnace doors arranged around the circle of the base. Internally there are seven vertical cylindrical boilers, each of the diameter of 32 inches and height of ten feet, arranged around a larger vertical cylinder boiler, serving as a common centre of union, by means of a connecting-pipe at the bottom and top of each. The eight furnace doors all open into one common furnace, with the grate bars arranged about the vertical boiler, of the diameter of 42 inches, and directly beneath the lower ends of the smaller boilers. These contain numerous tubes like those of locomotive boilers, ascending to the smoke-flue which surmounts the dome above them. All these congregated boilers being cylindrical, and of small diameters, and constructed of extra-thick flange iron, with no flat sides requiring the support of braces and clamps, are calculated to be worked safely with the pressure ordinarily used in boilers of locomotive engines, say from 90 to 135 pounds to the inch. Thus is available a compound boiler, combining all the desirable elements of extraordinary strength. But to secure its durability, a further very important arrangement is added in an iron tank containing numerous tubes, like those of organ-pipes, with the tops partially closed, and kept cool by a continuous stream of sea water, for the purpose of condensing the waste steam as fast as it escapes from the engine - to be returned again at nearly the boiling temperature to the latter in the form of pure distilled water. It has been found that the boilers, after being filled with pure Croton water in New York, require a fresh supply of only 150 gallons to replenish them after making a trip of the propeller from New York to Providence; and as there is always a surplus supply of several hundred gallons filled into the boilers at starting, several trips or passages may be made without the actual necessity of replenishing the boilers. To replenish the small waste during long Atlantic voyages, it is only necessary to apply a small distilling apparatus, operated by the steam from the boilers. Indeed, the longer the voyages, the more important becomes the preservation of the boilers from destruction by the corrosive salt of the sea water. The fact is impressively manifest from the last advices from the two American Steamships of War now in China, which state that both of them have become already unsafe, on their arrival out, from the corrosion or "honey-combed" condition of the boilers, and suggesting modes of getting them home under canvas to obtain new boilers. The efficiency of these ships of war thus actually depends on the preservation of the boilers as the source of their motive power. The Corliss Steam-Engine Company was incorporated in June, 1856, with a capital stock of 300.000. At present the capital employed is nearly double this amount. Its officers are George H. Corliss, President; Wm. Corliss, Treasurer; John H. Clark, Agent.
QUELLE[Bishop: History of American manufacturers 3 (1868) 378]