IndianaRog and the Temple of Steam

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All Other Engines

A little something about the category:  All Other Engines

Engines in this Collection:
(click hyperlink to jump to that engine type)

Approx. Dates
         Manufacturer and Model                                  Origin 

1970's...........................Sutcliffe Oil Cans                                                      England

late '70s...(mod '07).....Wilesco # D36 "Old Smoky" Roller (Modified)        Germany

The Stirling and Vacuum Engine Concept

1980's??.......................PM Research "Flame Eater" Engine                      USA

2012..............................CarlAero Stirling Engine                                         Germany


Machinist Built Engines

2008..............................Liney Four Cylinder Aircraft Engine                       USA

2008..............................Wolfgang Engineering Turbine                               USA

2011..............................Tripod Steam Plant                                                   USA

2012..............................Wolfgang Engineering Turbo-Fan                           USA


A little about "All Other Engines"

When you begin to collect anything, be it coins, stamps, baseball cards or something as off the wall as toy steam don't have much direction and sort of try this and that 'til some pattern of interest emerges from the fog. 

I'm no different than most toy steam collectors in this regard, but after 16+ years (as of 2018) of active scrounging on eBay primarily, I've "narrowed" my interests to select engines from Jensen, Karsten Gintschel, and Stuart . These are makers of engines represented by their own section (tab) on this website.  I've also added an electric train section in 2010, so I'm branching out a bit from steam alone (I grew up with electric trains which preceded my steam interests).  Around 2013 I began a number of clocks, watches and blackpowder cannons...all of which I have included tabs on my websites opening page.

This tab is the "All Other Engines" section of the website currently inhabited by a handful of survivor engines and 
accessories (Dec. 2022).  A place where just 1 or 2 examples from multiple makers have found a home arranged from oldest to newest .  Some maker's names you will recognize, others not likely.  Each of these engines is a survivor, an engine that did NOT make a return trip to eBay after running, scrutinizing and/or staring at it on the shelves.  Something about each enamored them to me and made them keepers. 

You will also notice a growing number of machinist built engines as opposed to the mass marketed pieces.  My collecting has matured over time and I have come to appreciate the quality you get at the hand of a good machinist.

To other toy steam collectors, I "think" you will see a pattern overall and agree that given the many, many makers, countries of origin and more than 100 years of offerings to choose from, I have indeed created at least some focus.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it !!

Sutcliffe Oil Cans

OK...I know oil cans probably don't belong in "All Other Engines"...but I didn't know where else to put them! 

Though I have had these two cans for several years now and they've graced my steam shelves all this time, I'm only just now getting around to creating a virtual place for them on this website.

I came by these two in very different ways. 

About the time I was searching for one on eBay to accompany my British engines particularly...steam friend Steven of the UK sent me the red one as a gift.  Almost at the same time, I won an eBay auction for a stripped of paint example that I like to pose with my Stuart Beam which is also sans paint.  The red one sits with 3 of my other Stuarts just because it looks especially good with them!

I don't actually oil with them, preferring a needle oiler for control, but I love to simply look at them and envision a much larger version in use on the full sized steam engines that inspire our toys and models.

I shall have to post some additional info on the Sutcliffe company and how they came to make oil cans for small steam engines like ours, but I will leave that for another day.

Wilesco Steam Engines and Models

Every collector of toy steam engines has at one time or another owned a Wilesco or wished he had.  Mind you, they are NOT one of my favorite manufacturers, but they put out a good product overall and I have two of them in my collection for which I have a warm spot.  

Wilesco's are of German manufacture.  The name
is based on the initials of one of the founders, Wilhelm E. Schroeder who with partner Ernst Wortmann, took over the Fleischmann line of toy steam in the 1960's, probably soon after I got my Fleischmann in 1961.  Wilesco is the last genetic link to the golden Nuremberg era of steam, so it's nice to see them alive and well to carry on the tradition of German toy steam.  Check out the Wilesco website, they offer a huge number of engines and accessories to match suitable for all pocketbooks.

It's funny, but Wilesco's use of pretty thin tin and a few bits of plastic is probably the biggest turnoff I have with them, but then they incorporate a nice feature like in-line lubricators, a really nice touch not seen on a lot of engines in the toy steam lines.

Wilesco D36 "Old Smoky" Steam Roller

(Modified to sort of look like a D.R. Mercer roller)

This piece will bring the kid out in anyone, maybe because it looks like a toy we might have had as a kid.  Mine was about 25 years old when I got it, and unfired til Oct. 2006.  It ran well, will go forward and backward just by reversing the flywheel rotation, exhausts steam out the green stack and will run at idle when the left rear wheel gear is disengaged. 

Despite liking my Old Smoky, in Nov. 2007 I decided to modify it to look more like a D.R. Mercer roller...a much more expensive piece I would truly love to have.  I have actually added a Mercer TE since this modding...but still love this thing! 

While I was shooting for the Mercer look, one steamer commented that it might be closer in appearance to an 8 ton Aveling and Porter steam roller.   Whatever, it's a ball to run and I am happy with it!

Left below is a pic of my original "stock" Old Smoky. 
Right below is a pic of an actual D.R. Mercer roller model.

Front and center is my finished roller after a number of modifications. 

Like Elvis...Old Smoky has left the building

Among the mods incorporated are the following:
  • eliminated the canopy, supports and original stack
  • inserted nicer Mamod wheels within original roller & rear wheels
  • converted from Esbit to a brass alcohol tank under the scuttle
  • added a pulley to the flywheel to enable direct drive band attachment to the left rear wheel while engine gears are disengaged...option for 2X speed of normal
  • added brass nuts & bolts in place of all rivets
  • added extra metal heat shields inside the firebox to protect against warping
  • added protective rubber to roller & rear tires from Forest Classics
  • added several brass bits from CJW Steam including stack, belly bands, faux belly tank and removable hubcap/axle sets
  • lowered steering mechanism to accomodate belly tank,  sculpted the body work a bit on the scuttle & added a brass wrapped "coal pile" atop the scuttle
  • wood maintenance board was added to the boiler's right, faux brass drain fitting to the boiler's left, closed in the back side of the open headstock and topped it off with a knurled brass fitting
  • body was painted in satin Hunter Green, wheels done in Jensen red

A "few" more pics...can you tell I am delighted with how this turned out?

To the right is the custom alcohol tank and burner designed to slide in under the coal fits and works beautifully.

I made the tank from brass plate bent into a box plus brass tube and a couple of ammo casings for upright burners. 

Burner slides in and is retained by a couple of pieces of picture hanger hardware soldered to the bottom of the scuttle.  Squared off brass knob is the filler plug vent and also helps to keep tank aligned in place.  Pic below shows tank in place with screws/filler cap slid into the retaining hangers.

I highly recommend that if the spirit moves you, this sort of modified engine is well within the scope of what most folks can do and won't ruin a rare or exceptionally valuable piece.  Old Smoky models in good shape can often be found on eBay for about $150 USD...plenty have been made.  The Wilesco traction engine is almost the same platform and would work as well with adjustments.

Results of such modding are the look and function of a much more expensive engine.  The fun in getting there?...Priceless!

Here are a couple of videos to wrap things up.

First video shows the engine running with it's designed in gear system...a nice scale pace with the characteristic gear clatter Old Smoky's are known for. 

CLICK HERE for an instant video

Second video shows the engine running about 2X normal speed using direct belt drive from pulley to left rear wheel while gearing is set to neutral.

CLICK HERE for an instant video

With this set of mods, one can enjoy either of TWO speeds or stationary running in place.  It's not a Mercer by a long shot, but it will tide me over til I can get one!!

Stirling Engines

These Stirling engines are modern offerings readily available from eBay or other online sources.  While not historically collectible these engines demonstrate principals discovered over 100 years ago.

They operate by heating a fixed volume of air that increases in pressure as it get warmer. The warmed air acts on the underside of the piston pushing it to the top of its stroke, the air is then cooled.  The cooled air has reduced pressure and allows atmospheric pressure to push the piston back down. 

Stirlings have two pistons, the power piston which drives the crankshaft and the displacer piston which moves the gas between hot and cold parts of the engine. This process is repeated rapidly over and over resulting in the motion you see.  

PM Research "Flame Eater" Engine

Not sure the "Flame Eater" belongs under a "Stirling Engine" tab, but for lack of a better spot, this is where I'm parking it. 

Also called a "Flame Licker" or "Flame Gulper" by is technically in a class of engines known as "Vacuum Engines".  This is my second time owning a PM Research version.  This one is an earlier model purchased as "New/Old Stock" and in my opinion it runs better than the later model I no longer have.

The nickeled flywheel a very heavy as is the brass cylinder.  The piston is large and rivals that on my Jensen 51 replica at 1 inch diameter.  Stroke is 1.75 inches ...chunky bugger indeed!  As received, it comes with a blackened solid aluminum base. 

I have attached the black base to a nice piece of finished wood for appearances sake...I like wood bases!  The whole setup is hefty, weighing in at 5 1/2 pounds.

Unlike a steam engine, NO oil is used in the cylinder for lubrication as it would simply burn on the sidewalls without water to cool it.  Instead, lubrication is provided by powdered graphite applied every 2-3 runs with a Qtip on the insides of the cylinder walls.  Simple enough and it runs very smoothly once the flame is directed to the "sweet spot" on the cylinder, just behind the port visible below. 

Finding this perfect spot for the flame takes a little trial and error, but it is worth it...bit like having a Hit & Miss engine running on your bench top when you get it running right!  To keep the nickeled steel burner oriented to the right spot, I have added some self stick magnet pieces under it.  

CLICK HERE for an instant video

I've admired this type of Stirling engine for ages and finally broke down and bought a German made CarlAero Stirling in kit form.  Kit came in record time, assembly was not so easy. 

I broke one part in the assembly process and CarlAero were very helpful, shipping me another part at no cost.  I do recommend their finished product, quality is first class in every way.

Let me caution anyone interested in buying this engine in kit form...don' it assembled for just $40 more shipped!  Those 12 little Philips head screws seen on top and 12 more on the bottom were a bear to thread into the 12 unthreaded brass tubing supports. The rest of the assembly process was pretty straightforward, but getting all those screws in place took me almost 4 hours.  BUY IT FINISHED

Despite my struggling with the assembly, the completed engine is a thing of beauty, performs flawlessly and is whisper quite when running. 

Sit it on top of a cup of boiling water and it soon takes off...powered by just the difference in heat between the bottom and top stainless steel panels.  If you keep the cup of water sitting on a mug warmer, this little jewel will run all day with no tending whatsoever!

This type of Stirling engine is truly magical to watch operate.  Get one, it's good for the soul !

CLICK HERE for an instant video

LiNey Machine Thimble

A little something about LiNEy Machine

LiNey Four Cylinder Aircraft Engine

I have seen this LiNEy design for a couple of years now and was longing to buy one when funds permitted.  Well, fortunately the time came in Sept. '08 and I added this LiNEy engine to my collection. 

Machinist Lance Erickson urged me to hang on to this one as it was likely the last of this model he would be hand building.  Not to worry Lance, I love this thing!!

This engine is a four cylinder opposed type with gear driven valves and timing.  The design of this engine is similar to the internal combustion engines that power many small general aviation aircraft as well as VW's. 

The pistons are 3/8" with a 1/2" stroke driving a one piece crankshaft riding in miniature ball bearings.  The "RV" designation in the name stands for "Rotating Valve"...a unique valve design incorporating a pinion gear on the crankshaft which times the one piece rotating valve.

Some of these features can be seen in the photo of the open bottom below:

Lance jeweled the back plate simply for looks, and at my request added a custom in-line oiler for use with steam.  It runs equally well on compressed air and live steam.

Another close up showing the beautiful machining work on the back plate, oiler and the included muffler set up.  Lots of polished brass and aluminum highlights.

I did add a small touch myself.  The prop as received was blond/natural hardwood, probably ash.  I removed it, stripped, stained and polyurethaned it to a color I prefer, just can't leave well enough alone!

CLICK HERE for an instant video

Tripod Steam Plant

Ah, 'tis a pleasure to add this engine to my website. 

Why?  Because it was machined by steam friend Dean Williams and given to me as a gift by another steam friend, Philip J.  For a collector, admirer of machined engines and lover of "steam jewelry" just doesn't get any better!

What adds to the enjoyment is the fact I had an engine almost identical to this until a couple of years ago when I had to sell off a number of engines to help meet college tuition payments for my daughter.  Then out of the blue, this little jewel arrives in the mail 2 weeks before Christmas 2011, with an Idaho, USA postmark.  

Dean created a wonderful build tutorial for this engine on his
Website.  Now I have the fruits of his labor in my hands and I never saw it coming. 

Dean basically made a larger version of Dr. James Senft's "Thimble Power Plant" concept.  He had no plans per se, just a few photos of some other examples of this concept and some rough measurements sent by another steamer who owned one.

First the bottom with the Maker's Mark and serial #002:

I show the bottom for posterity, because it was quickly hidden by me when attaching the engine to a small base of walnut, cut/routered and finished specifically for this engine.  As memory serves, these engines get quite hot when operating and a wood base avoids burned fingertips. 

Engine is called a "Tripod" for good rests on 3 legs!  Nestled amongst the legs is the burner, a small aluminum tank holding 3-4 cc's of denatured alcohol (meths).  I added a piece of graphite wool for the wick given it works well in these applications. 

Above the burner sits the brass boiler which holds 6-7 cc's of distilled water.  A dab of oil in all the right places and a match starts the action...steam is up in less than 2 minutes and it runs for 5-6 minutes. 

Check out the precision machining on that oscillator:

The flywheel is special as well...bearing 5 "curvy/spokey" things as Dean likes to call them:

The aluminum base was solidly adhered to the walnut base using silicone caulk, and run for the first time today Dec. 12, 2011.  Here's a video to show how sweetly this baby runs:

CLICK HERE for an instant video

Thanks again Philip and Dean...this engine has a permanent home now in the Temple of Steam.

Wolfgang Engineering Turbo-Fan

Another creation from the shop of Wolfgang Engineering.  The TF-10 as the maker named it has the appearance of a turbo-fan engine off a jet airplane...very cool to look at and even cooler to spin it up to speed.

Here is the technical background in the maker's own words:

"This could be my most ambitious project to date. It is the TF-10, a mini Turbo-Fan model based off of the AM-10 turbine design. 


I placed a 1.5", 18 blade turbine fan in the front, machined from solid Brass. The fan cover and cone are machined from solid 6061-6T polished Aluminum which gives it a nice contrast. This is NOT a static model.


The fan blade actually rotates when air pressure is entered through the back. It turns the same 0.860 micro turbine blade the AM-10 has and brings the turbo-fan to approximately 35,000 rpm with about 45 psi. 


The total height of the model stands 3.5" tall and is placed on a 2" by 3.5" solid Aluminum base. You can also see all of the small detailed parts that go into the project.


There are many pieces that have to go together just right in order for everything to work out properly, and each model is hand assembled to make sure everything works.


I will not be building too many of these. They are very difficult and time consuming to put together especially, when working with such small pieces, some only 1/8" across".

More pictures just because I'm very taken with this engine...what a cool addition to the Temple!

Below...a look inside the main part of the engine...(maker's photo)

My present air supply is very limited and doesn't do this engine justice.  I will add a video with sound as soon as I can find a friend with a high PSI air compressor.


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