Empire B-30 Toy Steam Engine

Description (Brief)
The Metal Ware Corporation of Two Rivers, Wisconsin produced the B-30 model toy steam engine during the first half of the 20th century, beginning in the 1920s. This toy steam engine’s boiler was electrically heated, with the heating element inside the red cast iron base. The nickel plated copper boiler has a sight glass on the left, a safety valve inside the chimney stack, a steam whistle, and throttle for the horizontal slide valve engine that powered the flywheel and driving pulley. Advertising shows this engine powering accessories like a lathe and water pump, and touts the toy as “the finest a boy ever had for mechanical instruction and fun.”
Currently not on view
date made
mid 20th century
Physical Description
nickel plate (boiler material)
cast iron (engine material)
cast iron (base material)
base: 9 1/4 in x 5 3/4 in; x 23.495 cm x 14.605 cm
overall: 8 in x 9 3/8 in x 5 3/4 in; 20.32 cm x 23.8125 cm x 14.605 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Bequest of the Estate of Greville I. Bathe
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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


I proudly own one of these B-30 engines. It was a gift to my father, and his brother, for Christmas, in 1923. Many years ago I completely restored it and it runs flawlessly. I cherish it very much because when I was little my dad would allow me to pour in some water, plug it into the outlet and stand there forever waiting for it to boil. But as soon as I heard it perking I would toot the whistle and open the valve. That little red and silver wheel would begin to spin and I was in heaven.
"I've had one of these for years, and it sure is a reliable engine! Mine's a 1932. Will she ever be on display? These were also relabeled by Ind-X and Modern Science Co. LTD. It was the last engine they built. The operating pressure was 15-25 pounds, and the typical speed was not much over 600RPM. Fine little engine, hope to see her some day."

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