Leavitt-Riedler Pumping Engine
The Leavitt-Riedler Pumping Engine (1894) is a historic steam engine located in the former Chestnut Hill High Service Pumping Station, now the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, 2450 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts. It has been declared a historic mechanical engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
The engine, which drew steam from a coal-fired boiler, was designed by noted engineer Erasmus Darwin Leavitt, Jr. (1836-1916) of Cambridge, Massachusetts, built by N.F. Palmer Jr. & Co. and the Quintard Iron Works, New York, and installed in 1894 as Engine No. 3 of the Chestnut Hill High Station, later the Boston Water Works. At its normal speed of 50 revolutions per minute, it pumped 25 million gallons of water in 24 hours.
According to C. P. Miller, when first brought into operation, the engine attracted national attention as "the most efficient pumping engine in the world" (Power).
The engine's pump valve mechanism was invented by Prof. Alois Riedler (1850-1936) of the Royal Technical College of Charlottenburg (now the Technical University of Berlin) in Berlin, Germany, and was key to its high-speed operation at a hydraulic head of 128 feet. The engine itself is of an unusual triple expansion, three-crank rocker design, with pistons 13.7, 24.375, and in diameter and stroke. Each rocker is connected both to a crankshaft with a flywheel and to a double acting pump's plunger.
The engine was taken out of service in 1928 but remains in its original location and it is open for public viewing as an exhibit in the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum.
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers - landmark page
- The Leavitt Pumping Engine at Chestnut Hill Station (pamphlet)
- Carol Poh Miller (1997). Landmarks in mechanical engineering. Purdue University Press. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-1-55753-093-6.
- "Record Making Pumping Engine, Chestnut Hill Pumping Station, Boston, Mass.", Power, 16 (April 1896), pages 1-6.