The murals of The Collection on Palmetto tell the story of engines of field and factory through realistic, life-size images. The viewer is transported to a time unlike the present, when steam enabled industrial forces to expand and the mechanization of farm equipment greatly improved agriculture for our country. Gary Baillie and Stacey Whitz have worked to bring to life the vision of the founders through artistic interpretations of our very own engines; the engines of The Collection on Palmetto. Here, the Reid Oil Field Engine provides power for a pump jack. Natural gas was a plentiful source of fuel for oil field operations. How has the use of fossil fuel changed our economy? How has it changed our society? How has it changed our earth?
Gary and Stacey's art can be seen around Pinellas in local businesses and private homes.
The fully operational gas and steam engines of The Collection on Palmetto represent a variety of engine types and manufacturers dating back to the late 1800s. These engines provided power for industrial and agricultural machinery, adding to social and economic growth in America.
Steam engines use steam power to perform mechanical work. Steam pressure pushes a piston back and forth in a cylinder. The pushing force is transformed by a connecting rod and flywheel into rotational force. The first commercially successful steam powered device was built by Thomas Savery in 1698.
Steam power dates back to ancient Greece, when Hero of Alexandria created a steam turbine. Steam power played a tremendously important role in industrialization around the world, beginning with the first industrial revolution. Steam power accelerated the economy and led to the emergence of other sources of energy in the second industrial revolution (Institute of Entrepreneurship Development). Electricity and internal combustion engines have largely replaced steam engines. Steam engines can be seen around the world and some are still in use today. In the United States, steam engines are generally found in museums, farm shows, fairs and private collections.
Brilliant innovators improved steam engines through the centuries. James Watt made steam engines smaller and more efficient so they used less coal. Oliver Evans developed the high pressure steam engine. George Corliss greatly improved the steam engine with his system of valves that increased efficiency.
Shown above: U.S. President Ulysses S. Grand and Emperor Pedro II of Brazil starting the Corliss Centennial Engine at the opening ceremonies of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1876. By Unknown author - wikipedia:pt, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=648161
Steam engines were developed centuries ago. Used throughout the first and second industrial revolutions, they later were replaced by other sources of energy.
Portable engines were transported to work sites.