Stuart Working Beam Steam Engine
United Kingdom - Manufacture date: unknown
Bore = 1", Stroke 2", Flywheel diameter = 7"
Style: Double Acting, Working Beam

Dimensions: 18" length x 13" width x 13" height
(includes base)

The Stuart Beam Engine


T
his engine was hand built by a talented, but sadly unknown, craftsman in England. It was sitting in an antique shop and had been neglected for quite some time. Mounted on a piece of ugly white Formica, the Stuart was covered in many years worth of dirt and oils. It really looked bad.

I acquired it and had it shipped here with less than stellar hopes of it being a running engine. However, to my surprise, after disassembly and major cleaning, it began to look much better. While the engine was apart, I checked the tolerances of things only to find the engine had been machined to within 1/2 a thousandth of an inch to factory specifications. When reassembled, it ran too smooth to be believed.

The cylinder was originally lagged in brass sheeting which had seen better days long before I found the engine. Rough handling had left its mark on the sheeting and the slide valve linkage, requiring some repair during reassembly. Luckily, I was able to salvage the original linkage, and amazingly, the original blue paint was in excellent condition and is shown in these photos.

The cylinder is now lagged with hand rubbed mahogany veneer and strapped in place using brass strips secured by small scale turnbuckles. The new display base was added, complete with nailed flooring, to simulate a pre 1900's factory floor. The end results were pretty amazing, making this one a most prized piece in the collection.

Cylinder Section Details

View of the Stuart Boiler

The boiler was also disassembled and cleaned. Other than one small dent in the pressure vessel, the boiler and fire box liner were in good condition. A bit of work with copper cleaner and a soft cloth soon had it looking like new.

This is the smaller version of the Stuart boiler, burner fired, by paraffin or alcohol. It has boiler tubes extending from the vessel into the fire box for flash heating. This really cuts the time required to build a head of steam and get the engine running.

The manual feed water pump completes the set up and makes maintaining water levels much easier and safer than top loading with a funnel.

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