J. L. Hess Toy Motor

Description (Brief)
This toy motor was manufactured by the Hess Company in Nuremburg, Germany during the early 20th century. The “J.L.H.” makers mark on the base of the toy dates the motor to between 1906 and 1930, when John Leonard Hess took over the company. This type of friction-inertia motor was marketed as the Dynamobil. The motor is a crank operated friction-inertia toy. The winding of the crank builds up inertia and when the switch is turned on, the engine spins its axel, which would power machine accessories connected to the engine either directly or through a line shaft.
Currently not on view
Object Name
motor, toy
Physical Description
wood (base material)
overall - from catalog card: 2 1/2 in x 1 3/4 in; 6.35 cm x 4.445 cm
overall: 2 7/8 in x 2 5/8 in x 3 5/8 in; 7.3025 cm x 6.6675 cm x 9.2075 cm
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Engineering Steam Toys and Models
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Family & Social Life
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Engineering Steam Toys and Models
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bequest of the Estate of Greville I. Bathe
maker referenced
Maass, Eleanor A.. Greville Bathe's "Theatre of Machines": The Evolution of a Scholar and His Collection

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