Wilson, Joseph M. (ed.) / The Masterpieces of the Centennial International Exhibition illustrated: history, mechanics, science
Wilson, Joseph M.
Mechanics and science, pp. -375 ff.
THE INTERNA TIONAL EXHIBITION, I876. more than by Mr. Corliss' proposition. After considerable delay, Mr. Corliss was then unanimously requested to renew his offer, and in June, i875, eleven months before the opening, a contract was closed with him for the work, giving him only about ten months to construct that for which there had not as yet been even the first sketch prepared. How promptly the work has been per- formed, will be apparent when we state that on the day fixed by the contract- April I7, 1876-the engine was up in place, steam was turned on, and it was run for some time with perfect success. The special characteristics of the Corliss Engine as compared with other steam engines may. be said to consist in the valve gear, the form of valve and the peculiar method adopted by which steam is freely admitted at the full boiler pressure and discharged after use, without presenting any resistance to the piston. Independent parts are used for admitting and exhausting the steam with four separate valves, the steam being cut off from the cylinder entirely by the main steam valves without the employment of any supplementary valves. The steam valves are opened against the resistance of springs, and a liberating gear is called into play, disconnecting the valves and leaving them free to be closed by the springs. These springs are brought to rest without shock after closing by means of an air cushion formed by a small cylinder with a closed bottom, in which a piston is fitted to work easily, a certain amount of air being imprisoned just as this piston approaches the bottom, acting as a cushion and preventing any shock. The valves of admission are regulated by direct connection with the governor, thus controlling the speed of the engine without the use of a throttle-valve in the main supply-pipe. The principal inventions which distinguish the Corliss Engine were devised in i848 and patented in 1849, a beam engine of 260 horse-power having been constructed with the new improvements for use in Providence. The success of this engine was so great as to induce the parties with whom Mr. Corliss was asso- ciated to erect new works in the summer of I848 for the purpose of extending their business. The machine-shop then built, covering an acre of ground, is yet standing intact. About two years after this time, a course of patent litigation commenced, extending over a period from i85o to i865, involving the firm and very much embarrassing its operations. Mr. Corliss from being the defendant in the first place, was afterwards obliged to take the place of plaintiff to maintain 8
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