Steam Ball Turbine Group #2
Germany - Manufacture date: 2002
Rotor diameters = 40mm
Boiler Diameters: 1 1/2"
Style: Impulse Rotor and Heron's Aeolipile

Steam Ball Turbines

Those of us who have searched the web for miniature turbines know they are a difficult item to find. Karsten, who created these turbines, offered quite a few designs and I grabbed several of them when they were offered. The basic 2 styles are the old Heron Aeolipile and the more modern Impulse rotor. Their modular design gives great flexiblilty in creating new and interesting combinations. The idea behind creating these machines was to provide quality teaching aids to science, physics and engineering classrooms. The use of very low friction ball bearings and high precision metal components differentiate them from toy turbines such as The Empire, Doll or Wilesco versions I've seen. The collector appeal is quite obvious and once again worked to remove money from my greatly abused wallet.

Heron's Ring Turbine

Dimensions: 4" length x 4" width x 6" height
(includes base)

Heron of Alexandria is legendary for having created the first known functional turbine, back in ancient times. Karsten, the gentleman who created the turbines shown on this page, used old historical descriptions as a basis to create his own vision of how that first machine might have looked.

This is a finely made little machine with lots of character. No corners were cut in creating the boiler and the eye catching ring structure. It is estimated to run at 3000 rpm and is quite fascinating to watch as it spins in a cloud of steam. The design is deceptively complex in its execution, combining the textured rough cast frame with the precision machined ball bearing mounted copper and brass boiler assembly. This one is an interesting little piece of history and a great addition to the gallery.

Heron's Ring Turbine, called an Aeolipile

Karsten's Ring Turbine

Dimensions: 5" length x 4" width x 6" height
(includes base)

Karsten's Ring Turbine is another "antique" flavored design, inspired by the Heron's Ring. It incorporates the simple elegance of design used in the Heron's model and brings it forward into the age of modern turbine design. This design is serial #34 in a limited number of machines, making it a true collectable engine.

These turbines were created for use as an educational aid. for science instructors or as a temptation for experienced steam engine enthusiasts. The simple wick style burner and the small steam ball boiler is designed to allow the machine to run for approximately 5 minutes. The copper bowl is placed to collect the condensed steam as the machine runs. The laminated beech wood base is a great way to display this eye pleasing miniature.

Karsten's Ring Impulse Turbine

The "Gate" Turbine

Dimensions: 7" length x 5" width x 5" height
(includes base)

The "Gate" turbine is a crisp looking "futuristic" design, inspired by the designer's love for science fiction. The flying metal platform serves to isolate the engine from the finished wood base, allowing the surface to release any accumulated heat that repeated run sessions might generate. It also just looks pretty cool sitting there above the wood base.

The Gate was created in an HO railroad scale and looks great with HO scale figures placed on the platform. It would make a great addition to a diorama, as long as it is used only for static display. The slick precision machining of the support structures give it a quite an appealing look.

The "Gate" Impulse Turbine

Many have contacted me in an attempt to purchase turbines from Karsten. After having lost contact with Karsten for an extended period of time, we've been reunited. He's doing very well and has even worked with me to design and launch a new product for the Jensen Steam Engine company. He's becoming better known in the miniature steam community and is being very well received.


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