History of Model Steam Engine
The history of the steam engine goes back all the way to the first century A.D. and there is a continuous line that passes through the course of human history, and didn’t deed steam powered engines have been a catalyst for human growth and change over the last two millennia. The steam engine may not have single-handedly powered the Industrial Revolution, but it certainly played a huge part in its development, and paves the way for the modern world of today.
While many people are familiar with the history of the steam engine, if you were already aware of the rich history of the model steam engine and how alongside the full-size Steam engine, the steam powered models also had a small role to play in the development of mankind. Most notably, the model steam engine played an important role in the classroom.
Before videos and other resources could be used to demonstrate the function of complex moving systems like that of the steam engine, it was important that there be models which could accurately represent their function, but also be accessible for young generations in the comfort and convenience of their very own classroom. The history of the model steam engine does not start there, however, nor does it and there. For many collectors the history is an essential part of their hobby and a large part of their interest in Model steam engines.
In order to better understand and more appreciate models, then let’s take a look at the history of several manufacturers that powered decades of fun for model steam engine enthusiasts.
History of the Wilesco Steam Engine
Wilesco is the name of a German company that is probably the largest producer of steam engine models still in production today. They are well-known for their quality, as well as the wide range of products that they sell. Let’s go produces everything from steamrollers to stationary steam engines, and they even have a range of traction engines as well. Let’s take a look at where this rich history began, however.
The history of Wilesco can be traced back to the 1920s. At the start Wilesco produced household items like cutlery before taking on the manufacturing of aluminum accessories for children’s dolls. This decision was a wise one, and it allows the company to survive the economic crisis of the great depression.
After the great depression, however, the Wilesco Company that collectors and hobbyist will know and love began in the 1950s. That is when the company started manufacturing high-quality steam engine models. By the time the company had produced the steam engine models, their popularity was already declining, however. That being said, Wilesco found a market that continues to be profitable for them even today.
One of their most know where the products “Old Smokey” was first manufactured in 1966, and since then has become popular amongst hobbyist, and is still actually in production today. That was interested in buying their own piece of Wilesco history would only have to check out their online store. They have a wide range of products that in many cases can be shipped right to your door.
History of the Jensen Steam Engine
Unlike Wilesco, Jensen is an American company. Jensen was started by a man named Tom Jensen. Tom Jensen had a fascination with the models from a very early age, and the creation of his steam engine model powerhouse of a company could have been predicted from the time he was as young as 10 years old. It is said that he manufactured his first engine out of steel tins, and the rest is history.
The success of the Jensen Company can in large part B attributed to FAO Schwartz, who first saw the products and stocked them in their New York stores. From there the steam model engines caught on in popularity, which is until World War II. World War II of course demanded many resources and as a result they were all sorts of rations on not only food, but other important manufacturing materials.
Because the Jensen model steam and Engines or manufactured using precious metals at the time including brass nickel iron and stainless steel, production was halted. That did not last long, however, because it was discovered that the steam engine that Jensen produced could be used to create a machine that detected poisonous gas. Therefore, Jensen steam engines were declared a war essential industry and we’re allowed to continue production, and Jensen was as alive and well has ever before. From there success took hold and the company grew into the Jensen that it is known and loved today.
History of Mersey Models
Mersey Models is a company that generate some interest for collectors because of the unique range of steam engines that they produced. The company begin production in 1934, and enjoyed brief success until 1939 when it was shut down for the Second World War to help with the war effort. The models that the company produced, however, we’re available on sale until 1941.
Despite its brief history, Mersey Models is worth noting because of the interesting range of products it produced. Their products included stationary engines, would you buried to some degree and complexity, but we’re all of high-quality. They also manufactured a steam powered boat. There were technically two boat designs, but the only difference was colouring.
Most important of all is the rare items that are still in circulation today. These rare items include machine tool accessories including drilling machine, power press, lathe, and grindstones. These accessories are extremely rare. There are actual Proto types or commissions that were completed by Mersey that would also be prized possessions of any serious collector.
Making Sense of the History of Model Engines
There are many companies that share the rich history of the best steam model engine kits. We have only touched on the surface of what is a long and continuous piece of manufacturing history. These companies all played an important role in the education and enjoyment of past generations, and it is easy to appreciate why they are still sod, collected, and loved even today in the modern world.