ASME-Landmark:Kinne Water Turbine Collection


The Kinne Collection of Water Turbines, owned by the Jefferson County Historical Society and displayed at their museum in Watertown, is believed to be the largest collection of its kind in the world. Assembled by engineer Clarence E. Kinne (1869-1950) between 1907 and 1937, the collection represents American turbine development from a time well before the invention of the "true" turbine to the evolution of the inward-flow reaction turbine used in more modern hydroelectric plants.

The Kinne Collection illustrates the wide variety of water turbines produced in nineteenth-century America. It includes center discharge wheels, Jonvial axial-flow turbines, radial inward and mixed-flow turbines, register-gate and wicket-gate turbines, centrifugal wheels, and many combinations. The collection also includes a "Scotch turbine" descendent of "Baker's Wheel," which works like a spinning lawn sprinkler. The evolution of designs exhibited in the collection illustrates the evolution of engineering development.

Specific exhibits include an iron reaction waterwheel, made in 1840 in George W. Wood's Foundry and Machine Shop in Camden, New York; a 14-1/2-inch Austin Wheel that was the very first wheel made by Henry R. Austin of Norwood, New York, circa 1878; and a 56-inch center discharge waterwheel, made by millwright Thomas Matthews in 1852 for the Slater Machine Shop in Black River, New York. Of the dozen-plus waterwheels in the collection, all but four are located in the Stuart Lansing Memorial Room in the basement of the museum. The four remaining exhibits are displayed on the museum's south lawn. See ASME website for more information