Steam-ups operate, during the canal season, the second Sunday of each month, 12-5 P.M., at the Camillus Erie Canal Town Park, is the result of the joint efforts of the Camillus Canal Society, the Town of Camillus, and the City of Syracuse to save and preserve the last of the many steam engines which once powered the manufacturing might of Central New York.

With the announcement in 1998 of the plans to demolish the former L.C. Smith Typewriter Company plant on Washington Street in Syracuse, the community was poised to lose an icon of its manufacturing past. The building still housed the Corliss steam engine that had generated power for the Company beginning in 1913.The City of Syracuse was willing to give the engine to a museum or group for preservation, but had not been successful in finding a recipient. At the critical moment when most such artifacts are lost forever, the Camillus Canal Society proposed a plan to remove the engine and exhibit it at the Camillus Erie Canal Town Park.

The City of Syracuse made an inter-municipal gift of the engine to the Town of Camillus, and the volunteers of the Camillus Canal Society went to work to create a new building in which to house and restore the engine.

In the ten years since its inception, the Steam Engine Exhibit has become a unique resource in the community. Additional engines and artifacts of the region’s industrial past have since been added, and the Exhibit now serves as a gathering spot for steam enthusiasts, model engineers, and students of history. Steam boilers are also a part of the collection, and running engines can be seen here on special occasions.

For more information on the Restoration/Preservation and photos of our old Rice & Sargent Corliss Engine click here.

History

A Corliss steam engine is a steam engine invented by and named after the American engineer George Henry Corliss.

Corliss engines were generally about 30 percent more fuel efficient than conventional steam engines.

This increased efficiency made steam power more economical than water power, allowing industrial development away from millponds.