Rider Hot-Air Engine, Patent Model

Rider Hot-Air Engine, Patent Model

This model was submitted to the U.S. Patent Office with the application for Patent no. 111088, issued to Alexander K. Rider, of New York, New York, January 17, 1871, reissued August 24, 188-, no. 9353.
This engine consists of a power piston and a transfer piston so connected with valves and passages that the cold air is received and compressed in the same cylinder in which the hot air performs its work. Its simple construction is an improvement on the John Ericsson hot-air engines of 1855-1858.
A vertical cylinder contains two independent pistons with suitable valves that permit cold air to be drawn into the cylinder, compressed, circulated between heated furnace walls, expanded under a power piston and then exhausted. The upper piston is equipped with two spring-closed intake valves that open on the upstroke of the piston allowing air to fill the cylinder between the upper and lower pistons. This air is then compressed on the downstroke of the upper piston until the pressure is sufficient to open a valve in a passage leading to a heated space surrounding the furnace. The heated and compressed air then passes into the cylinder below the lower piston where it expands, performing work against the piston.
This description comes from the 1939 Catalog of the Mechanical Collections of the Division of Engineering United States Museum Bulletin 173 by Frank A. Taylor.
Currently not on view
Object Name
air engine, model
patent model, engine, air
Object Type
Patent Model
date made
patent date
Rider, Alexander K.
place made
United States: New York
associated place
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
wooden model - from catalog card: 8 in x 12 in; 20.32 cm x 30.48 cm
overall: 12 3/4 in x 8 5/8 in x 3 in; 32.385 cm x 21.9075 cm x 7.62 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
patent number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Industry & Manufacturing
Bulletin 173
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

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.


Add a comment about this object