German Toy Steam Engine

Description (Brief)
This vertical toy steam engine was manufactured by an unknown German company during the early 20th century. The toy consists of a fire box, a vertical boiler with chimney, and a vertical engine attached to a flywheel all mounted on a cast iron base.
Live steam toys enjoyed a period of popularity from the 1880s until the 1930s. The miniature steam engines were marketed as both toys and instructive devices that mimicked full-scale steam-powered machines and allowed every boy and girl to be their own engineer. In toy steam engines, a heating source is introduced into the firebox below the boiler (early toys used lit wicks fueled by denatured alcohol, later toys used electricity) which heated the water to produce the steam pressure that ran the engine. A variety of accessories could be powered by the engine; attachments included windmills, pumps, grinders, and electric lights.
Currently not on view
Object Name
toy, steam engine and boiler
date made
early 20th century
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
cast iron (base material)
chrome plated (fittings material)
overall: 12 7/8 in x 4 3/4 in x 5 1/2 in; 32.7025 cm x 12.065 cm x 13.97 cm
vertical brass boiler - from catalog card: 2 1/2 in; x 6.35 cm
base - from catalog card: 13 in x 4 in x 4 in; 33.02 cm x 10.16 cm x 10.16 cm
wheel - from catalog card: 2 1/2 in; x 6.35 cm
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Engineering Steam Toys and Models
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Family & Social Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. August Mencken

Visitor Comments

2/15/2016 10:43:55 PM
Steve smith
This is a doll#357/1 steam engine made about 1910. It uses a roller side valve very nice engine
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