Doll Toy Steam Engine

Description (Brief):

This toy steam engine was manufactured by the Doll Company of Nuremberg, Germany during the early 20th century. The toy steam engine is model number 354. The vertical engine is mounted on an iron base, with vertical firebox, boiler, and chimney. The vertical engine is shafted to a flywheel.

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: MC.328937Catalog Number: 328937Accession Number: 278175

Object Name: toy, steam engine and boiler

Measurements: overall - from catalog card: 12 3/4 in; 32.385 cmflywheel - from catalog card: 2 3/4 in; x 6.985 cmbase - from catalog card: 4 1/4 in x 4 1/4 in; 10.795 cm x 10.795 cmoverall: 12 3/4 in x 4 3/4 in x 5 3/8 in; 32.385 cm x 12.065 cm x 13.6525 cm


Record Id: nmah_847039

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.