Bing 130/273


A very lucky eBay find - this Bing was advertised as a "Bulgarian Engine", probably doe to the "Bavaria" badge. It is of course a German Bing, from around 1912. It was cosmetically in a very poor shape when I received it...covered in dirt and a lot of surface rust. As I didn't want to harm the remaining paint, especially on the lithographed base, I immersed the engine for a few days in Deox-C, a very gentle rust remover - this took care of all the rust, and after a spraydown with water dispersant and a gentle rub with turtlewax this is now the state of the engine - probably good for another 100 years. It is missing the burner and the whistle/pressure gauge, but still a lovely example of a rare early Bing. It runs a treat as well.

Wilesco D45


Now called the D455, I think. This is where all the trouble started- my dad bought me this one for my
tenth birthday in 1978, as he'd promised he'd do ever since I turned 5 or so. It was love at first sight. I think I was a perfectly normal kid in most respects, and I trashed quite a few toys, but this one I've always looked after - it even still has its original (slightly oil-stained and battered) box. I also was given quite a little selections of the Wilesco driving models, and I still have all of them, minus their boxes unfortunately.

This is a slide valve engine, and unusual in that it has a large upright boiler. The engine is fitted with a slip eccentric, so that it can run in two directions, and run it does! Without a load this engine cranks up some serious revs.
It's pretty to look at - the boiler and flywheel are nickel plated and have a mirror finish. Under full steam it generates some very satisfying clouds of steam, but it is a tidy engine to run - the little condensate tray is a thoughtful addition.

Unlike on modern versions where for some reason the steam throttle and whistle tap are plastic(!), this engine's all metal. The fact that it has survived for nearly thirty years without so much as a ding or a spot of rust is testament to the build quality.

I know this engine's nothing special and it is still in production, but for sentimental reasons I'm obviously very fond of it. It's in near-mint condition. I quite like the bigger Wilescos - I think they're probably the closest thing to the sophisticated Nuremberg engines from the turn of the century. Their small slide valve engines are quite effective if not exactly powerful, and the slightly gaudy design appeals to the big child.

Old Upright Engine, Unknown Manufacturer


This engine's fairly typical of the cheapest engines that were produced in great numbers by all the big names around the turn of the last century. It's a simple boiler with an oscillating cylinder. The driveshaft runs right through the boiler. Burner is a single wick pan type.

Comparitive research leads me to believe that this engine is probably German and possily by Carette, but as there is no maker's mark of any kind I can't be sure. Any information would be appreciated!

It runs really well, and remarkably effectively. The boiler is fairly large, so it will happily chuff away for about an hour. Doesn't develop any torque to speak off, but makes a lovely noise - a sort of quiet puffing noise with an occasional hiss as a drop of condensate runs down the boiler. It's a fairly slow runner, about 200rpm, and it has a typical "wobble". The whole thing while running is strangely hypnotic, and very relaxing. When I get this engine out, my wife knows I've had a bad day......

EPD Engine


Probably one of my most intriguing engines, and virtually unknown outside Germany. I saw this one in pieces on an eBay auction, and as it is an unknown, and no-one in their right mind can call this engine pretty, I got it for a song. It is a very heavy engine, the base is some sort of cast alloy, the boiler is thick plated steel, the burner is enormous - the thing is literally built like a tank. Note the details like the small handwheel valves that operate the steam flow and the whistle.

I bought this engine because something about it looked Jensen-ish, so I started to a little research, and fairly quickly established that this was probably an engine made in the former DDR - Socialist East Germany, for those of you who weren't around in the before the wall came down. The only DDR engines I know of were made by a company called "VEB Merbelsrod", so I started casting about for information about this firm. This led me to the "wanted" section of the German eBay, where there was a chap looking for anything made by this firm - an email was swiftly dispatched.

Within hours I had a reply from a gentleman by the name of Thomas Hesse, who, quite helpfully, turned out to be an English teacher - not only is his English a lot better than my school German, it's also better than my English! He turned out to be a very nice guy indeed, and an absolute fount of knowledge on engines from both East and West Germany. His first reaction was, paraphrasing: "are you seriously telling me you found this engine in London??"

Turns out that this engine was made in Dresden, by a firm called EPD, which stands for "Eberhard Pässler, Dresden"....they made some toys, household appliances, and two steam engines. This one, probably called the "D01" is the smaller one....Thomas showed me a picture of the bigger one, and it's a beast!. EPD ceased production of steam engines in 1963, not sure when they started, so this engine is hard to date - early sixties would be an educated guess. EPD continued on to 1990 making domestic appliances.

As I said earlier, this is not a "pretty" engine - it is grey and drab, and hugely over-engineered, which is precisely what I find so appealing about it. It is also a very satisfying runner, fast and is some video, see for yourself:

Falk 144

falk.JPGWhen it comes to older German engines, I know nothing.......but I know what I like. And when my very esteemed friend Thomas aka Yussufhippo waved this engine under my nose, I almost immediately fell in love and started working on a plan to get it away from him......a deal was eventually struck, with Thomas getting a steam boat and me getting this marvel and the Wilesco D52 described below.

This engine is labelled BW-JF, which is "Bing Werke- Josef Falk". So, is it a Bing or a Falk? Well, both really, but mainly Falk. By 1930 Bing was no more, having foundered in the economic crisis, but Josef Falk had bought tooling and materials from Bing and carried on producing these "double badged" engines until 1935, until he was forced to cease trading as he was "non-Arian"....apparently he managed to escape Germany just on time. This engine was of course made in Nuremberg (or "Nürnberg", to give the city its correct name). This is a very fine example, with just a little paint damage (some of it caused by myself when I overfilled the spirit burner) has a functional pressure gauge and runs very nicely indeed. This is the Model 144, size 2 1/2, and I like it very much elegant with that tall chimney!

Bing 451

bingA lovely little Bing, from the first decade of the 20th century, snapped up in the last few minutes of STiA 2009. I love the lithographed base and chimney, and the embossed boiler endcap is just wonderful. Totally original, untouched lacks the original burner, but runs very well - it even has a reverser (effectively swapping over the exhaust ports, a method made popular in Mamod engines much later). Possibly my oldest engine.

Bing 1914 130/532 generating plant

Pasted Graphic

I found this beautiful plant on eBay in pretty much unrecognisable condition….I was immediately attracted to the beautiful little lightbulb, which must be an original and therefore almost 100 years old. I did my level best to restore this beautiful engine to a good state, without destroying any historical evidence… the following was done:

-Removed the boiler straps and reinstated the boiler tags
-removed meccano brackets and reinstated the firebox tags
-stripped firebox of many layers of paint and repainted
-removed thick layer of dust and grease from all parts of the engine
-repaired the wiring
-reinstated the exhaust pipe
-repaired and reisntated the pressure gauge
-repaired the water gauge
-Put the lovely "new" burner from my forum friend MrDuck under it!

And yes, it runs, very beautifully as well.

"Avon 555" Pop Pop Boat


Yes, this most definitely is a steam engine! I picked this up as an afterthought at Steam Toys in Action 2006, for the grand sum of £3.50, making it the second cheapest toy in my collection (that honour goes to the Latimer L4). I had absolutely no idea how much fun these things are! A bucket of water, half a teaspoon of vegetable oil and off it goes, at a fair old lick, making the characteristic sound from which it gets its name.

The "engine" really is a basic impulse jet! Two ends of a pipe stick into the water. The pipe either is coiled or passes into a very small boiler, which is heated by a small flame. The system is primed with water, which readily turns to steam, jets out both ends of the pipes, immediately condenses in the cold water and in doing so contracts in volume and sucks in fresh water. Apparently the science of this is hideously complicated, and it still hasn't quite been worked out what the perfect size for this type of engine is - apparently large ones are impossible to make. Parts of the theory behind this type of engine was used in WWII by the Nazis to build the V-1 which wreaked such terrible damage on London. Nice to see these toys still going then, long after the V-1 has just become a nasty memory.