Logo Our Family Tree

Smithsonian American History Items

Signs and items from the Smithsonian's American History Museum, Washington, DC


Curtis Steam Engine

Curtis Steam Engine

Curtis Steam Turbine, about 1895

This experimental turbine is of the type patented in 1895 by Charles G. Curtis of New york.  The Curtis turbine is divided into several sections, to divide the pressure drop into stages and thus reduce the speed.  Each stage uses a group of divergent nozzles, similar to those used by C. G. P. De Laval, to direct the steam against the wheel vanes.  The turbine takes advantage of both the expansion (recaction) and the velocity (impulse) of high-pressure steam.

The first large turbine installation in the US wsa at the Fisk Street Station of the Commonwealth Eduson Co, where General Electric erected the first unit in 1903.  These units were also the first with capacity as great as the largest reciprocating engine of the period.  The vertical design was used to save floor space.

Related albums • See other albums

Smithsonian American History Items

Related people

Charles Gordon Curtis

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

  1. Personal: Ray Gurganus, personal photograph taken at the Smithsonian Institution Museums;

Updated: 6-14-2021