Eric Peterson

Battle of the Steam Titans: Leavitt vs. Reynolds

Size mattered to 19th century steam engineers E. D. Leavitt and Edwin Reynolds. In fact, they competed to build the largest Prime Power equipment on the planet. This session will explore the remarkably similar lives of these now-forgotten master makers and show how their work impacted cities and shaped the future of American manufacturing. Find out who won the title of world’s steam titan and learn how a site in Boston is the only place where their behemoth machines still go mano-a-mano!

[Recorded August 13, 2022.]

Eric Peterson is the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum ( in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He also serves on the Board of the Mass History Alliance (

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