PRIME MOVER FOR COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION GENERATOR

One of the impressive attractions at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago was the 3,000 horsepower quadruple-expansion Reynolds Corliss steam engine.

During the 1890's, Edwin Reynolds made significant design improvements in engines built by the Allis Company of Milwaukee, forerunner of Allis-Chalmers Corporation.  Indeed, Reynolds gained worldwide recognition for outstanding achievements in engine building.

People from all over the globe attended the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago from May to October, 1893. Among the attractions remembered by most was the steam engine titled "Pride of Machinery Hall." The Allis Company's contribution to the fair, the engine, weighing 325 tons and rated at 3,000 horsepower, was a horizontal, quadruple-expansion Reynolds-Corliss model, and supplied electrical power to light the fair grounds.

Although 1893 was a depression year, it was nevertheless a dramatic moment when President Grover Cleveland pressed the button which started the huge engine. Reports say that the crowd was galvanized at the sight as the thirty-foot diameter flywheel began to rotate powering the two Westinghouse 750 kW alternators that supplied the current for 20,000 sixteen-candlepower lamps.

The bright lights of the fair was a big hit. Fairgoers took with them memories of electricity used on a lavish scale for the first time and of the engine that produced that power.