Coolspring Power Museum
Founded in 1985 - Celebrating Our 32nd Year
Coolspring, Pennsylvania, USA
Our mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret historically significant and mechanically interesting early stationary internal combustion engines for the education and enjoyment of everyone.
Coolspring Power Museum presents an illuminating history of the evolution of internal combustion engine technology that put an end to the steam powered era. The museum's collection includes over 275 stationary engines housed in more than 20 display buildings.
Stationary gas hit and miss engines, throttle governed engines, flame ignition engines, hot tube ignition engines, and hot air engines are all among the permanent exhibits at the Coolspring Power Museum in Coolspring, Pennsylvania. Engines in the museum's collection range in size from fractional horsepower up to 600 horsepower. Please see our Exhibits page which includes a number of Virtual Tours of the exhibits in the museum's collection.
Coolspring Power Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded in 1985. Please see our Organization page for information regarding our officers, Board of Directors, and coordinators.
Our vision is to be the foremost collection of early internal combustion technology presented in an educational and visitor-oriented manner. We strive to provide an organized and functional operation that will gain broad based support and generate substantial growth.
Events at Coolspring Power Museum
Museum Open Days and Special Events are scheduled to coincide with the third Saturday of the month from April through October. Please see our Events page for the schedule of Open Days and Special Events at the museum.
Open Days give our visitors the opportunity to experience the museum's many exhibits through tours led by our volunteers. Visitors may also create their own experiences through self-guided tours.
The museum hosts several Special Events during the year.
The Exposition & Flea Market celebrates engines and related artifacts brought to the museum by many exhibitors. The Exposition occurs on June 15, 16, and 17, 2017. It also include a flea market with an eclectic assortment of items for sale.
The Antique Car, Truck & Tractor Show highlights classic cars, classic trucks, and antique tractors in an informal, casual day at the museum. History Day showcases the exhibits of the museum with tours, demonstrations, and plenty of engine runs. Both of these events occur on July 15, 2017.
The Fall Exposition & Swap Meet brings together engine exhibitors and enthusiasts for three days of engine runs, technical discussions, and a bit of swapping and shopping. The Fall Exposition occurs on October 19, 20, and 21, 2017.
Visit Coolspring Power Museum
Our Visitor Info page provides travel information for planning your visit to Coolspring Power Museum. Here you will find local driving directions, access to maps of the area, airport information, and listings of restaurant and lodging options.
Please see our Events page for the schedule of Open Days and Special Events at the museum and for admission details. We offer special admission pricing for student groups, scout groups, and youth groups. Please contact the museum for more information about group admission pricing.
Be sure to visit our Coolspring page which presents a brief history of the village that is home to our museum.
Coolspring Power Museum is open during three days this month for our Exposition & Flea Market. The museum is open on June 15, 16, and 17 (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) for this Special Event and our hours are 7 AM to 8 PM all three days. Please see our Events page for information about the Exposition, including admission details. Also, please note that the museum is closed on June 18 (Sunday).
Exhibitors and Vendors: Please see our Events page and review the Museum Safety Rules and Museum Ground Rules, which include information about grounds access and setup days and times for the Exposition.
Coolspring Power Museum is dedicated to internal combustion engines. This month, however, we are highlighting a fascinating group of external combustion "hot air engines" at our Exposition. In this month's edition of The Flywheel, our online publication, Paul Harvey concludes his series on the history of hot air engines.
Also this month, The Rider-Ericsson Engine Company: A Short History, Volume 23 of our Bores & Strokes booklets, is available for over-the-counter purchase at the museum gift shop. Author Brent Rowell presents a history of the Rider-Ericsson Engine Company and an overview of the many types of external combustion "hot air engines" it produced. Please see our Publications page for information regarding Bores & Strokes and other Coolspring Power Museum publications.
We're delighted to announce that Wayne Grenning recently brought his full-scale replica of the 1867 Otto Langen engine to Coolspring for display in Preston Foster Hall.
This exquisite machine is the result of many years of experience Wayne gained by building smaller-scale versions of these engines. The engine has a 5.9-inch bore and 34-inch stroke. Overall, it is about 10 feet tall and, with its 50-inch flywheel, weighs about 2650 pounds. Otto Langen engines of this size were rated at approximately 1/2 horsepower.
This photo shows Wayne (left) with his engine running in Preston Foster Hall and with several friends from France who were visiting the museum.
Flame Ignition: A Historical Account of Flame Ignition in the Internal Combustion Engine by Wayne S. Grenning. This book is a scholarly work describing flame ignition as applied to reciprocating engines, from early experiments to later successes such as the Deutz and Crossley versions of the four stroke cycle perfected by Otto in 1876. Wayne discusses problems encountered by the early entrants into the gas engine industry, highlighting solutions discovered by the various players. He also goes into more arcane subjects like the constant pressure cycle introduced by Brayton that survives today in the gas turbine engine, to a look at toy non-compression engines produced during the same early days as their full size brethren. In eight chapters, Wayne shows details of engines built by Clerk, Sombart, Forest and others, gives technical details on the construction and operating features unique to flame ignition engines, and highlights the struggles other manufacturers endured to avoid infringing the Otto patents. The section on the four-stroke-cycle engines is by itself over 300 pages long, covering 30 different companies. It has 67 pages describing the activities of Crossley Brothers in Manchester, England and another 53 pages dedicated to Gasmotoren Fabrik Deutz from Cologne, Germany.
Regular hard bound edition, 875 pages, $79.95 + shipping and handling. Special leather bound edition, $149.95 + shipping and handling. Limited printing. The book is printed in color on semi-gloss paper for enhanced picture reproduction. Book size is 8½ x 11 inches with dust jacket. Please see our Publications page for ordering information.
About the Author: Wayne Grenning has been interested in engines for decades and has restored many early engines, flame ignition and otherwise, as well as creating operating scale and full size models of a variety of early flame ignition and non-compressing engines. A fixture at Coolspring during the shows, Wayne has gathered all of his knowledge together into this book as a technical and historical reference to this important chapter in internal combustion engine history.
The Coolspring Power Museum Collection
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. 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 American Society of Mechanical Engineers recognizes Coolspring Power Museum as a Mechanical Engineering Heritage Collection. Please see our History page for more information.
Contribute to Coolspring Power Museum
Please support Coolspring Power Museum by becoming a Friend Member or by providing a contribution to the museum. We offer annual and lifetime Friend memberships. Please see our Contribute page for more information. The museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and contributions are TAX DEDUCTIBLE to the extent allowed by law.
Preston Foster Hall is almost finished and we welcome additional contributions to complete this facility. This fine addition to the museum features climate control and increased security. Please consider a donation to this worthy project!
We also offer the option to donate via PayPal. Click the Donate button below to begin your transaction. Thank you for your support!
Volunteer at Coolspring Power Museum
Coolspring Power Museum is an all-volunteer organization. Our volunteers perform a wide variety of services at the museum and produce some truly amazing results. Be a part of our volunteer staff! We need your help during our June, July, and October Special Events and during our Open Days. Please see our Volunteers page for more information about our volunteers program. Also, see our Events page for the schedule of Open Days and Special Events at the museum. Please contact us at 814-849-6883 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Shop at Coolspring Power Museum
Be sure to stop at our Museum Gifts and Souvenirs Shop when you visit Coolspring Power Museum. The gift shop offers a nice selection of Coolspring Power Museum apparel, print and video publications, and souvenirs.
We also offer a number of Coolspring Power Museum publications for sale by mail order. In addition to the Flame Ignition book described above, we are offering The Snow Engine, a booklet that describes the history of Snow engines and gives a short history of Worthington engines. We have reprints of The Ball Gas Engine catalog and we have copies of Cooper-Bessemer: 165 Years of Engine & Compressor Innovation, by W. Norman Shade. In addition, we are offering back issues of our Bores & Strokes booklets. Please see our Publications page for further information.
Proceeds from the gift shop and from our mail order sales provide valuable financial support for the museum's activities.
Coolspring Power Museum
179 Coolspring Road
Coolspring, PA 15730
Gift Shop: email@example.com
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