German Toy Steam Engine

Description (Brief):

This toy steam engine was made by an unknown German manufacturer during the early 20th century. The horizontal steam boiler powers a flywheel which is connected to a dynamo that can power the attached bulb. The boiler, flywheel, dynamo, and light bulb are all attached to the wooden base.

Description (Brief)

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.

Date Made: early 20th century

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Germany

See more items in: Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Family & Social Life, Engineering, Building, and Architecture, Engineering Steam Toys and Models


Exhibition Location:

Related Publication: Maass, Eleanor A.. Greville Bathe's "Theatre of Machines": The Evolution of a Scholar and His Collection

Credit Line: Bequest of the Estate of Greville I. Bathe

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: ER.328990Accession Number: 278175Catalog Number: 328990

Object Name: toy steam engine & boilertoy, generator, steam engine and boilertoy, steam engine and boiler generator

Physical Description: wood (part material)Measurements: boiler - from catalog card: 6 in x 2 1/4 in; x 15.24 cm x 5.715 cmflywheel - from catalog card: 3 1/8 in; x 7.9375 cmbase - from catalog card: 11 1/4 in x 9 1/2 in; x 28.575 cm x 24.13 cmoverall: 14 1/8 in x 11 1/4 in x 9 1/2 in; 35.8775 cm x 28.575 cm x 24.13 cm


Record Id: nmah_1063804

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