Toy Steam Engine

Description (Brief)
This toy steam engine was manufactured by an unknown maker during the early 20th century. The horizontal boiler powers a horizontal, reversible slide valve engine with flywheel, all mounted onto a metal topped wooden block.
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
early 20th century
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (base material)
Measurements
overall: 15 1/4 in x 9 3/4 in x 9 3/4 in; 38.735 cm x 24.765 cm x 24.765 cm
flywheel - from catalog card: 4 in; x 10.16 cm
boiler - from catalog card: 6 in x 2 5/8 in; x 15.24 cm x 6.6675 cm
overall - from catalog card: 15 in x 9 3/4 in x 9 3/4 in; 38.1 cm x 24.765 cm x 24.765 cm
ID Number
MC.329015
catalog number
329015
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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