Weeden No.20 Toy Steam Engine “Big Giant”

Description (Brief)
This toy steam engine is a Weeden model number 20, manufactured from around 1894 until 1940. The boiler is stamped with “Big Giant,” which is the version that was included as a prize to subscribers of Youth’s Companion magazine. The brass base of the engine is a fuel reservoir with protruding wick, and was made to burn either petroleum oil (kerosene) or alcohol. The brass boiler comes with a sight glass, and powers a vertical slide valve engine attached to a flywheel.
The Weeden Manufacturing Company was founded in New Bedford, Massachusetts by William M. Weeden in the early 1880s, originally producing a variety of tinplate household items. In 1884 it introduced the Weeden No. 1 Steam engine as “a new and great premium for boys” who were subscribers to the Youth’s Companion magazine. Weeden made over a hundred different models of toy steam engines until the company ceased operations in 1952.
Currently not on view
Object Name
toy, steam engine and boiler
date made
ca 1900
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
tin (base material)
overall - from catalog card: 10 1/2 in x 4 3/8 in; 26.67 cm x 11.1125 cm
flywheel - from catalog card: 2 7/8 in; x 7.3025 cm
overall: 10 3/4 in x 5 in x 4 1/4 in; 27.305 cm x 12.7 cm x 10.795 cm
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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