Coolspring Power Museum This page uses frames, but your browser doesn't support them. Stationary gas hit and miss engines, throttle governed engines, flame ignition engines, hot tube ignition engines, and hot air engines ranging in size from a fractional HP up to 600 HP. All are among the permanent exhibits at the Coolspring Power Museum in Coolspring, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1985, the museum collection presents an illuminating history of the evolution of internal combustion engine technology that put an end to the steam powered era. Over 250 stationary engines are housed in 20 display buildings. Internal combustion engines revolutionized the world around the turn of the 20th century in much the same way that steam engines did a century before. One has only to imagine a coal-fired, steam-powered, airplane to realize how important internal combustion was to the industrialized world. While the early stationary gas engines were more expensive than the equivalent steam engines, they did not require a boiler and were cheaper to operate. The Coolspring Power Museum collection documents the early history of the internal combustion revolution. Almost all of the critical components of today's engines have their origins in the period represented by the collection (as well as hundreds of innovations that are no longer used). Some of the engines represent real engineering progress; others are more the product of inventive minds avoiding previous patents; but all tell a story. There are few duplications in the collection and only a couple of manufacturers are represented by more than one or two examples. The Coolspring Power Museum contains the largest collection of historically significant, early stationary gas engines in the country, if the not the world. With the exception of a few items in the collection that were driven by the engines, such as compressors, pumps, and generators, and a few steam and hot air engines shown for comparison purposes, the collection contains only stationary internal combustion engines. The collection consists mainly of stationary gas engines used in industrial applications. There are only a few marine, automotive, and farm engines in the collection and the Museum does not plan to expand its focus into those areas. Most of the Museum's acquisitioning efforts (those that involve substantial expenditure of funds and volunteer time) have been focused on collecting important large stationary engines that most likely would be scrapped if the Museum did not acquire them. The Museum's passive collecting efforts are directed at filling technological gaps in the collection by accepting donations from private collectors and occasionally other museums. The Museum also maintains a substantial library and archive related to the objects in the collection and to the internal combustion engine in general. The Collection consists primarily of engines built in America because that is what was available to the Museum. However, the technology on which they are based comes from both sides of the Atlantic. The museum's origin goes back to the early 1950s and the efforts of two collectors: John Wilcox and Paul Harvey. As their collections grew, significant pieces were gathered in a series of buildings in Coolspring, Pennsylvania. Through the years, and with the help and encouragement of many other individuals, this became the Coolspring Power Museum. The Museum was formally chartered in June 1985 as a registered, tax exempt, non-profit, corporation. During the years since the founding, membership has grown steadily. So have the collections housed at Coolspring. Many other engine enthusiasts have placed significant pieces at Coolspring for display. The grounds, as well as semi-annual shows, have expanded with visitors from Maine to California, as well as from Canada and England. The Coolspring Collection of historic internal combustion stationary gas engines is the largest, mechanically most interesting, and historically significant in the entire country. At this time, the museum is housed in 20 buildings that, besides its own large collection, contain many pieces placed there on loan. Total inventory is about 250 engines with a significant number permanently mounted and operational. The Museum acquires most of its collection by gift, however a substantial part of its operating budget has been spent on moving and other acquisition costs.