Chapin Mine Steam Pump Engine

Also known as: The Cornish Pump
Kent St., Iron Mountain, Michigan

A steeple-compound condensing engine capable of lifting 200 tons of water a minute



The immensity of this machine cannot be described, it must be experienced.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2013




The Chapin Mine Pumping Engine is a steeple compound condensing engine capable of lifting 200 tons of water a minute, equivalent to 4 million gallons a day. Edwin Reynolds and his nephew, Irving, designed the steam-driven pumping engine for the Edward P. Allis Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the engine was constructed. The pump gained world-wide attention as the largest steam-powered pumping engine and its amazing efficiency. The nickname came from the pump being modeled after pumps used in mining operations in Cornwall.

The Edward P. Allis Company, in Milwaukee, was noted for construction of special pumps, mills, steam engines and industrial machinery. It was the largest employer in the area. After Allis' death, the company merged with other manufacturers to form the enormous Allis-Chalmers Corporation.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 9, 1981
Reference number
NR name
Chapin Mine Steam Pump Engine
Areas of significance
Industry; Engineering; Invention
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Extractive facility
Current function
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899
Significant years
1896; 1907; 1914

Update Log 

  • August 24, 2013: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status, Added Description and Added Photos