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The Village Engine

One of our newer acquisitions, this is a Gleason and Bailey (G&B) hand engine dating from the 1880s. Donated to the Museum in 2013, we have since rebuilt the pump, sealed the basin, and sourced both a drafting hose as well as an adapter to attach the hose. Since we finished our work, we’ve pumped the G&B several times, most recently at the annual CAFAA muster in Westminster, Maryland, in June of 2015.

When we first received the engine, we pumped it at our 2014 Steam Show, with a group of willing volunteers providing the necessary power. Unfortunately, after only a short period of pumping, the engine was unable to continue to do its job. A parking lot tear down revealed that the gaskets that formed much of the valve system had died, which prevented the water from being pushed down the hose.

After removing the pump, we found that the original gasket material had torn where it hinged at the base of the pump. On top of the gasket is a weight, which helps to close the valve. This setup is known as a clapper valve, and is reasonably effective at moving the smaller quantities of water associated with hand engines of this size. After removing the top part of the pump, including the braces (handles), pivot, and air chamber, the gaskets were replaced with new ones made here at the Museum.