Toy Steam Engine

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Description (Brief)
This brass and steel steam engine model was manufactured by an unknown maker during the early 20th century. The model consists of a horizontal boiler with sight glass and chimney stack that powers a vertical walking beam engine and flywheel.
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
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
steel (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 9 7/8 in x 14 in x 3 1/2 in; 25.0825 cm x 35.56 cm x 8.89 cm
flywheel-from catalog card: 5 1/2 in; x 13.97 cm
boiler-from catalog card: 5 1/2 in x 3 1/4 in; x 13.97 cm x 8.255 cm
overall- from catalog card: 9 3/4 in x 14 in x 3 1/2 in; 24.765 cm x 35.56 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
MC.329026
catalog number
329026
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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