The 14th Annual Soulé Live Steam Show was held on Friday-Saturday, November 4-5, 2016. The show and Meridian RailFest combined together to create one of the most unique events in the southeastern United States. The Carousel Organ Association of America Fall Rally provided The Happiest Music on Earth during the event! Vintage Wheels Car Show has a great turnout. Visitors from the Mississippi Mercedes Club and the British Car Club from Jackson joined Vintage Wheels for a very great event..
The Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum has sponsored the event at historic Soulé Steam Feed Works for the past 13 years. This year's festival attracted an estimated 2,500 visitors. The festival features steam engines operating using live steam. What is live steam? Live steam is a term that indicates that steam pressure is used in machines to create movement or making it come to life. A modern package boiler provides steam to the Steam Demonstration Room and several other areas on the factory site.
The museum's steam engine collection is impressive. The Steam Engine Demonstration Room features a 1905 Watts-Campbell Corliss steam engine that operates so smoothly a nickel can balance on edge! An 1870 Manchester portable steam engine was purchased by Henry Ford in the 1930s for the Edison Institute collection (now the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan). A Soulé Spee-d-twin Steam Engine and a rare Soulé Rotary Steam Engine are also on display and in operation. The museum has a total of 21 steam engines that will operate during the event.
The Soulé Steam Feed Works factory machine shop boasts the longest operating line drive shaft in the United States. This 106' shaft is operated by a large electric motor and powers belt-driven lathes and drill presses. During the festival Industrial Technology students from Meridian Community College demonstrate the antique equipment in the machine shop. The indoor blacksmith shop is used during the festival and at other times throughout the year.
Visitors to the museum can see the Heblon Broom Shop exhibit and learn how brooms are made. A spinning wheel and 1830s weaving loom show some of the earliest industries in Mississippi. The steam-powered printing press and linotype will be demonstrated at Gower Print Works during the festival.
Machine hobbyists participate in the event each year. Owners of steam engines, hit and miss engines and other mechanical marvels show off their favorite "toys."
The Museum Gift Shop features items made in Mississippi and a stock of Lindsay antique book reprints. The shop also sells books of local and regional interest plus music by local artists. Wrought iron items made by local blacksmiths are also for sale. The shop stocks interesting and educational items for children (and those young at heart!).