Williamson Brothers Pedestal Engine
United Kingdom - Manufacture date: 1989
Bore = 1/2", Stroke 1 1/2", Flywheel diameter = 5 1/4"
Style: Double Acting, Governed Pedestal type

Dimensions: 4 1/2" length x 5 1/2" width x 11 " height

Williamson Brothers Pedestal Engine


This unusual pedestal engine is a Williamson Brother, formerly produced by Stuart. The engine is a miniature of an 1862 engine built by the Williamson Brothers of Kendal in Great Britian, and displayed at the South Kensington International Machinery Exhibition. The detail of the castings is very clean and crisp as evidenced by the fluting and open windows on the column. One usually thinks in terms of massive iron construction when dealing with steam, however this engine is a delightful exception with its almost delicate Victorian look. I have corresponded with Robert, the machinist who made this engine, and he provided a bit of information about this little machine. I wish I could have watched him as he worked. His attention to detail was, and still remains, something to be proud of.

The delicate feel of this steam engine extends to the business end of things like the drive and governor mechanisms. The curve of the brass governor, its restraints and the spire point add a nearly whimsical appearance to the Victorian style of the engine. The Governor is driven from inside the column below via a drive belt which transitions 90° over a pair of small brass pulleys. Even though there is no real function for the governor, the piece would surely look incomplete without it. Additional detail is evident in the upper castings of the pedestal where the emblems and the Williamson Brothers name are sharply cast in relief and polished out for a nice visual effect. The Williamson Brothers Pedestal is a nice contrast piece for the more heavily constructed engines in the collection.

Williamson Brothers Crank Shaft
and Governor Detail


Williamson Brothers Base  
Cylinder Detail Showing the
New Teak Lagging

The bronze cylinder and slide valve assemblies on this engine are located inside the pedestal column and visible through the windows on 4 sides. The highly polished edge bezels are a nice touch and direct the eye to inspect the inner workings of the column. The view shown is of the steam chest and slide valve linkage. The whole cylinder assembly is bronze and sits compactly in the recessed space of the column, allowing for a clean and simple look to the overall design.

The new brick tiled base, cylinder lagging and the polished column rings are recent additions, which were added once I decided it was time to spruce the little engine up for display. It was beginning to hide among the more polished engines, so it was time to give it a good cleaning and give it a fresh new gleam.

During disassembly and cleaning, I managed to get this little devil way out of adjustment by taking the slide valve apart. Normally this is no big deal and takes all of 5 minutes to adjust the slide block and another 5 to find the optimum timing for an eccentric. All this changes when you have large fingers and small openings to work through. I finally got the engine running again by making repeated small adjustments to the slide valve after it was fully assembled. It now turns nicely on 3 pounds of air.

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