German Toy Steam Engine

Description (Brief)
This steam toy was made by a German manufacturer during the early 20th century. The toy has its boiler and firebox inside a pressed metal container painted to simulate brick. The horizontal boiler has a sight glass, steam whistle, and throttle valve that leads to two vertical slide valve engines. The drive wheel is roped to a three pulley shaft, allowing this engine to power two separate accessories.
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.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1900
Physical Description
tin (overall material)
Measurements
flywheel: 4 in; x 10.16 cm
boiler: 8 1/2 in x 4 in; x 21.59 cm x 10.16 cm
base: 13 1/2 in x 12 in; x 34.29 cm x 30.48 cm
overall: 17 in x 13 1/2 in x 12 1/8 in; 43.18 cm x 34.29 cm x 30.7975 cm
ID Number
MC.329011
catalog number
329011
accession number
278175
Credit Line
Bequest of the Estate of Greville I. Bathe
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

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