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Wilmington Hot Air Pumping Engine

Brent Rowell

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First the video:


This interesting hot air water pumping engine must have been a poor seller in its day. This 6-inch bore engine is one of only two examples known to date (the other is an 8-inch). Wilmingtons were made by F.F. Slocomb & Co. of Wilmington, Delaware which manufactured machinery primarily for the leather goods trade. The engine was patented by two Wilmington residents in 1902 and was first advertised in 1903. It was designed to compete with the popular Ericsson pumping engines manufactured by the Rider-Ericsson Engine Co. The company claimed several improvements over Ericsson engines including sliding or “oscillating” guides for displacer and pump rods which kept them perfectly vertical. The engine also had roller bearings on the crankshaft and used separate walking beams for power piston and displacer.

This particular engine was once used to pump water from shallow gypsum mines along the Grand River south of Hamilton, Ontario.