Ernst Plank Toy Steam Engine

Description (Brief)
This toy steam engine was manufactured by the Ernst Plank Company of Nuremburg, Germany during the early 20th century. There is a small metal plate on the toy’s wooden base that reads “Hercules,” possibly the model name of this engine. The toy has a pressed metal firebox below the boiler with a pressure gauge and steam whistle. The boiler powers a vertical slide valve engine shafted to a flywheel.
Ernst Plank founded his company in Nuremburg, Germany in 1866. The company was well known for manufacturing a variety of metal toys like steam locomotives, stationary steam engines, early photography equipment, and magic lanterns until its dissolution in 1935.
Currently not on view
Object Name
toy, steam engine and boiler
steam engine and boiler, toy
date made
ca 1900
Physical Description
white metal (overall material)
tin (stack material)
wood (base material)
flywheel - from catalog card: 2 7/8 in; x 7.3025 cm
boiler - from catalog card: 7 in x 3 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in; 17.78 cm x 8.89 cm x 8.89 cm
tin stack - from catalog card: 12 in; 30.48 cm
base - from catalog card: 10 3/4 in x 4 3/4 in; x 27.305 cm x 12.065 cm
overall: 13 3/8 in x 4 7/8 in x 10 3/4 in; 33.9725 cm x 12.3825 cm x 27.305 cm
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
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
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
Additional Media

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