A triple-expansion steam engine, which was used for water pumping in Phillipsburg NJ, has been restored to operating condition thanks to a small group of dedicated volunteers. The engine, which pumped 6 millions gallons per day to a reservoir 265 feet above its level, was built in 1913 and was in continuous operation until 1969, when it was put into standby status (the pumping duties having been taken over by electric pumps) and finally removed from service in 1982. Here’s a video of its final run in 1982, which has turned out to not be so final.
The boilers have not yet been restored; test runs were done using a portable commercial rent-a-boiler as the steam source. The team intends to restore one of the boilers as well in the future.
When people think about the vast improvements in health and lifespan over the past century and a half, attention tends to be focused on antibiotics, better medical care, x-ray and scanning equipment, etc. Public water systems, enabled initially by waterwheels and especially by engines like this one, played an important role as well.
The restoration team has a Facebook page, here.