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Venn-Severin pumping diesel

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  • Venn-Severin pumping diesel

    This engine is on display outside the local history museum in Casa Grande, in Pinal County, Arizona. It was used to pump groundwater for irrigating cotton fields. I was struck by how massive it is, weighing 15,000 pounds. The logistics of transporting such an engine (presumably by rail) to a cotton field must have been quite an expense. I wonder if it was built as a marine engine, and adapted to this agricultural use.

    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

  • #2
    My grandfather told me that when he started working in the sawmill biz back in 1926 one of his first jobs as millwright was to aid in the assembly of a large Corliss steam engine.I believe he said it was rated at 85hp and weighed in around 14-15,000lbs also.It arrived broken down in several sub assemblies on the train and then it was brought by ox drawn wagon another 25 miles to the mill site.He said the largest piece was the main frame which probably accounted for 7,000lbs of the weight.Pulling it was no problem,string enough oxen together and you could move the world,keeping the load under control on the downhill that was a whole nother matter.

    I am amazed at the work the old timers were able to achieve with the tools they had to work with.
    I just need one more tool,just one!


    • #3
      how sad to see it outside rusting away. . . it must not mean much to the keepers of the machine !


      • #4
        Allan, looks to me like it would make a fine model. You've even got an internal drawing.


        Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:


        • #5

          Thanks for the impressive engine images - I have not heard of that make before - anyone know it?

          At first I thought that might be a blast injection cylinder on the front of the crankcase, but thats unlikely in the 1930's, so possibly a governor, or maybe fuel pump (or both), I don't know. I wonder if it is actually a diesel? The combustion chamber is large, maybe a semi-diesel. Also looks to be a two stroke.