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Antique Steam Engine from Doorknob

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SillyOldDuffer16/05/2019 11:07:44
4711 forum posts
1010 photos

Hi Michael,

Sorry for the confusion - it's definitely a steam engine, and an interesting one. Such things were (and are) made to be admired as working ornaments, or to demonstrate an invention, as apprentice pieces, to advertise a makers capabilities, and by hobbyists. It was the clockwork look in the first photo that makes me think there might be more to it, but the new front view shows, I think, it's only imitating a real engine.

Whatever the reason it was made, it's a good 'un. I've never seen anything quite like it.

Dave

Michael Hudson 616/05/2019 11:28:06
22 forum posts

No need to apologise, it was my misunderstanding. The newspaper article mentions that the "needle-like eccentric has recently become detached". To me it all looks in place - and I know it's run since the article was written - does it look like anything might be missing?

Hopper16/05/2019 12:35:30
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3706 forum posts
73 photos

Well, I've been looking for a new project, something small. Will have to keep an eye out at the garage sales for a brass doorknob now! Absolutely intriguing.

Anyone have any idea what is that small clevis-like fitting sticking up from the top of the doorknob? Right next to the steam shut-off valve. It clearly has a small pin in it, like a pivot pin, and a short lever that would pivot on it, possibly the broken remains of a longer lever? But what would its purpose be?

My only guess would be a dead-weight safety valve but it just does not look right for that.

Edited By Hopper on 16/05/2019 12:43:58

Andrew Evans16/05/2019 12:42:15
263 forum posts
1 photos

You should try bringing it to the Antiques Roadshow.

Ian S C16/05/2019 13:00:02
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7447 forum posts
230 photos

I assume that the gear is on the crankshaft, and drives the small flywheel at increased speed. Love it, it's a great model from the past.

Ian S C

Michael Hudson 616/05/2019 13:01:21
22 forum posts

I'm thinking about taking it to AR actually, trying to dig up some more info about Richard Westerman now. Ancestry.com is amazing - I'm back in the 1770s already, I only started half an hour ago!

AdrianR16/05/2019 13:03:31
272 forum posts
20 photos

On the cross head on the opposite side from the fly wheel is what looks like a mounting for another rod. It looks like it could be in line with the lever. Could there be a rod missing that operated the lever?

Where is the valve gear?

I would so love to take it apart.

Has anyone else noted the irony of a door knob engine on the same day as a post about door knob collars?

Mick B116/05/2019 13:08:06
1187 forum posts
66 photos

It's hard to understand. How does the valve gear work? Presumably it has to be in the cylindrical casing underneath the cylinder itself, but what operates it?.

Anything it powers would seem to have to run from the rimmed wheel driven from the toothed flywheel. From the large gear ratio the rimmed wheel must run much faster, and the conrod and crosshead guides are so thin that there can be little resistance.

I'm guessing steam comes up from the big onion vessel and is exhausted through the near-horizontal pipe?

So many questions...surprise

AdrianR16/05/2019 13:19:34
272 forum posts
20 photos

I took it that the brass wheel is the fly wheel and is geared up from the crank to give enough momentum.

Michael Hudson 616/05/2019 13:22:31
22 forum posts

Just found out Richard Westerman was a watchmaker! He was born in 1801 and died in 1872. In the 1861 census he is a Retired Watchmaker in Woodhouse Grove, Leeds.

 

Edited By Michael Hudson 6 on 16/05/2019 13:29:11

Hopper16/05/2019 13:27:22
avatar
3706 forum posts
73 photos

Watchmaker would explain the fine work then.

Re valve gear: I was assuming the crank arm on the opposite side to the gear and flywheel would operate some kind of rotary valve inside the brass body? But maybe not?

Hopper16/05/2019 13:37:48
avatar
3706 forum posts
73 photos
Posted by AdrianR on 16/05/2019 13:03:31:

On the cross head on the opposite side from the fly wheel is what looks like a mounting for another rod. It looks like it could be in line with the lever. Could there be a rod missing that operated the lever?

Yes I see the empty boss on the cross head arm but can't see a hole in that brass flange amidships that would allow a link rod to pass through and connect with the mystery lever on top of the boiler. Maybe obscured by the Photobucket watermark?? And hard to see how that fitting would operate any valve gear upstairs in the cylinder base.

Fascinatinger and fascinatinger.

Michael Hudson 616/05/2019 13:49:45
22 forum posts

Thanks so much for your interest guys. I've just written to AR so we'll see if they have anything to say. I'll try and attend the one near me (South Wales) in July whether they do or not.

Michael Gilligan16/05/2019 14:32:16
avatar
14011 forum posts
608 photos
Posted by Michael Hudson 6 on 16/05/2019 13:22:31:

Just found out Richard Westerman was a watchmaker! He was born in 1801 and died in 1872. In the 1861 census he is a Retired Watchmaker in Woodhouse Grove, Leeds.

.

**LINK**

http://www.dragonantiques2.co.uk/EBIMAGE/jan04/leedslcase.asp

MichaelG.

.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yqmfKmqupLAC&pg=RA1-PA251&lpg=RA1-PA251&dq=Richard+Westerman,+watchmaker,+leeds&source=bl&ots=C_qdvIQ4t0&sig=ACfU3U3dEOitnuA4IrNFft6to8IBZd2HEw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjlg_aolKDiAhX8SRUIHb84Bb4Q6AEwC3oECAUQAQ#v=onepage&q=Richard%20Westerman%2C%20watchmaker%2C%20leeds&f=false

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 16/05/2019 14:36:12

Michael Hudson 616/05/2019 15:27:23
22 forum posts

Wow! that is amazing!

Hopper17/05/2019 02:20:38
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3706 forum posts
73 photos

You might try contacting your local model engineering club and get an experienced model engine builder to take a look at it in the flesh for you. They would be able to tell if something is missing and know how to get it running. Unless there is someone on here who lives near you?

Nicholas Farr17/05/2019 08:08:21
avatar
1976 forum posts
936 photos
Posted by AdrianR on 16/05/2019 13:03:31:

On the cross head on the opposite side from the fly wheel is what looks like a mounting for another rod. It looks like it could be in line with the lever. Could there be a rod missing that operated the lever?

Where is the valve gear?

I would so love to take it apart.

Has anyone else noted the irony of a door knob engine on the same day as a post about door knob collars?

Hi, the lever looks to me, as if it has part of it broken off it, I guessing that being that this valve, (if that is what it is) and is attached to the boiler, is a safety valve and would have had a small weight hanging on the lever somewhere on the part that is maybe broken off.

Lovely looking engine, pity there isn't any drawings available, as I have a couple of these fancy doorknobs.

cimg2616 (1024x768).jpg

Regards Nick.

Michael Hudson 617/05/2019 10:11:55
22 forum posts

Hi all, two updates: that clock made by the same Richard Westerman is actually still for sale, and I just bought it! eek. Still for sale as in - by coincidence the same shop has just bought it back in part exchange from the last person who bought it 10 years ago. Crazy.

Also I had a closer look at the area under the cylinder, and there is a small hole on the same side as the empty boss on the cross head (I'm borrowing terminology from the posts above). Also on that side there is a small notch on the upper flange of the area under the cylinder. I couldn't imagine a notch like that would be a mistake, so perhaps it was giving clearance to another rod. I'll post a couple of pictures up in a bit.

I had a careful look and couldn't see anything rotating inside the small hole, I thought it might be an inlet valve.

Edited By Michael Hudson 6 on 17/05/2019 10:13:19

Edited By Michael Hudson 6 on 17/05/2019 10:13:44

Hopper17/05/2019 11:59:31
avatar
3706 forum posts
73 photos

Interesting. Yes please do post pics of the small hole etc.

I wonder if the valve mechanism was modelling on an early full-sized steam engine of some sort? Might have to have a look around see if anything similar can be found.

Michael Gilligan17/05/2019 12:32:19
avatar
14011 forum posts
608 photos
Posted by Michael Hudson 6 on 17/05/2019 10:11:55:

Hi all, two updates: that clock made by the same Richard Westerman is actually still for sale, and I just bought it! eek. Still for sale as in - by coincidence the same shop has just bought it back in part exchange from the last person who bought it 10 years ago. Crazy.

.

Well done yes

It must be destiny.

MichaelG.

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