The question posed by this article might seem a little crazy. You might be thinking that you paid good money for model steam engines, why in the world would you not use them? After all, don’t people buy these items so they can see steam operations in action?
A lot of people buy model steam engines because they want to see for themselves, on a first hand basis, how steam can turn a turbine or turn an engine. It kind of hearkens back to their years in junior high school where their teacher would demonstrate certain chemical processes by mixing certain chemicals and creating explosions or creating flames by mixing two liquids. It’s all about demonstration. It’s all about seeing for yourself how something that is seemingly intellectual or abstract like steam power, can actually play out in real time, right in front of your eyes.
This is all well and good, but a lot of people are actually discovering that best model steam engine kits can make for great conversation pieces. In other words, the manufacturer’s have come up with really amazing materials to build these types of engines that they look like works of art, in and of themselves.
You don’t necessarily have to see them in operation producing steam to appreciate their value. In fact, according to this thinking, you should not use them at all. Just assemble them, make sure that they’re clean, possibly put them in a glass case and call it a day.
That’s right. You buy the right model steam engine based on its online catalog, you assemble it, and then you turn it into a conversation piece, an art object, or a centerpiece for your living room or home office. Sounds awesome, right?
Well, answering the question of whether it makes sense to never use these items or not, really boils down to what your needs are.
Low Cost But Effective Art Piece
Make no mistake about it, art can get quite expensive. You probably don’t need me to remind you of that fact. If you’ve ever gone shopping for an art item for your living room or for any other room of your house, you know full well that great looking pieces that catch a lot of attention can cost you a pretty penny. We’re talking about several hundred dollars.
The great thing about model steam engines is that they are relatively cheap compared to low level art. The best part to all of this is that there are lots of model steam engines on the market that have a very futuristic or nice looking mechanical look. If painted properly and presented the right way, they can attract a lot of attention and they can function as practical art.
I have to emphasize that point. It is practical art, meaning this is not like classical art or this is not like the art that you have come to expect. Instead, it’s practical in the sense that it refers to an item in the real world that can be used. It refers to a mechanical item that people can come into contact with. There is a tremendous sense of practicality to it, that’s why it’s not a completely unknown type of art.
When you look at modern art, a lot of it is unknown. Meaning, somebody just came up with an amazing design and it is purely the product of the imagination of the artist. The artist is breaking new boundaries and is really pushing the limits of what constitutes art.
You don’t have to worry about that avant garde type of consideration because if you are really honest about it, what gives certain artists’ work more value is because of the skills of their publicist. In many cases, this really has nothing to do with the intrinsic value of their work. It’s not uncommon for artists to come up with something really weird and the whole art world goes crazy.
I remember seeing an ad for an artist that took a rock and valued it at half a million dollars, and that’s art. Which kind of brings back a classic quote from Andy Warhol. The famous artist said that the real art in art is making money. I tend to believe him.
So do yourself a big favor, if you are looking for a practical piece of art, it makes sense to put together model steam engines and never use them. They provide a great conversation starting point. They also engage all members of your family because you can take turns assembling these. They can be a lot of fun and they also look really good if you assemble them right.