Learn about Steam Engines and Models

Steam has been used to power models and toys from the late 19th century onwards, as an alternative to clockwork. It was largely replaced by battery or electric power in the 20th century, although some toys are still being sold and some models (usually scratch built by amateurs) are still being built.

There are three primary types of steam engine driven items: stationary toys built for children, moving steam-powered models such as engines, trains and boats and demonstration models made to show how a machine works.

Stationary engines were made by many of the leading German tinplate manufacturers such as Gebruder Bing, Marklin, Ernst Plank and Carette. In England, Mamod is the best known maker. They also made moving steam engines. Most stationary steam engines drove flywheels that would be attached to other accessories with belts, driving the workings on the accessory. Factories, windmills and other novelty movements can be found. Tinplate toys are desirable to tinplate collectors who collect names such as Marklin and Bing.

Original paintwork or lithography is important, and damage, often caused by the water and oil used, reduces value. more...

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These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

Boxed Wilesco steam engine. Model D10. Some parts missing. Height 13 cm

Live steam scratch built Traction engine. As inspected. Length 54 cm height 43 cm

Wilesco steam factory engine. Accessory saw bench. Height 25 cm

Two various live steam engines. Scorpian vertical brass boiler donkey engine; & Mamod SR1A traction engine. Height 26 cm (donkey engine)

Two various Mamod live steam engines. TE1A traction engine etc. Height 19 cm (each)

Antique Steam engine model on wood base, with initialled B.G, approx 33 cm high, 25 cm wide, 19 cm deep

A scratch built 3 1/2 inch gauge 0-4-2 live steam locomotive, 'Horatio' untested, with detailed cab and backhead fittings, vacuum hoses, handrails and steps, in green livery, with the name plate 'Horatio' to both sides, displayed on a section of track, the

A live steam stationary engine and boiler engine in turned and forged steel and brass, raised on a painted wooden stand bearing a brass plate inscribed 'Made by / A.E Smith / C.M.F V.R [Chief Mechanical Engineer Victorian Railways] / 1919-38,' on a wooden

Very rare antique 19th century model stationary steam engine, faux brick walled boiler, with brass and iron fittings, possibly by Radiguet & Massiot of Paris

Very rare 19th century large scale model of a stationary steam engine, faux brick walls, brass and iron stack, circa 1870's. Possibly by the French firm Radiguet & Massiot of Paris

A model steam engine. Maker: Bassett-Lowke. Height: 14.5 cm

Wilesco D16 German toy steam engine in original box, mid 20th century

Mamod English steam powered model steam roller. Mint condition in box

Brimo (NZ) Mark II Oscillating Steam Engine, in original packaging with instruction sheet, rare and important NZ toy

2 Vintage Fleischmann steam engines, in playworn but original condition

Wilesco Steam Engine, with workshop D 141 with 66 Dynamo, (OCB). Length 45 cm

Wilesco Static Steam Engine, with dynamo D. 24, 40 x 34 cm

Mamod Steam Roadster, in cream, near mint condition with all accessories, (OCB). Length 42 cm

Wilesco (German) Steam Engine, D45 with accessory pack, (OCB). Height 32 cm

Marklin steam toys Horizontal steam engine in the form of a chimney stack. Dimensions 38 x 32 x 32 cm

Scratch built all brass traction engine model, steam powered, by Joseph Gowland West Rainton 1909, 80 cm length

French school, steam ship, oil on panel, signed indistinctly lower right, approx 19 cm x 27 cm

G.C.Co, little steam engine, approx 27 cm long, 35 cm high

An early 19th century steam pressure indicator recording gauge, by Maudslay Sons & Field, Engineers, London; the instrument with spigoted screw fitting nozzles, the pressure chamber operating a coiled spring driven gauge and transferring the measurement to

French steam pressed wood framed mirror, approx 111 cm x 84 cm

Model of a steam engine, approx 27 cm high, 33 cm long

A Mamod steam driven scale model car manufactured England, modelled after 1910 classic Roadster. Length 39.5 cm

A Mamod steam driven scale model car manufactured England, modelled after 1910 classic Roadster. Length 40 cm

Antique print, Darby's steam digger steam engine, 19th century, 18 x 28 cm

A vintage scratch built wooden model of the Union Steam Ship Co. Ship 'Wairarapa' aka the 'Ship of Fate' sunk off great Barrier Island on October 29th 1894. Together with a story board and a framed letter and ticket that is dated 28th Oct 1894. Internal li

J. Rivers, 19th century, Two Masted Steam Ship signed lower right, oil on canvas 47 x 73 cm

A live steam scale model of a traction engine,'Pamela', late 19th/20th century, with a front roller, spoked wheels and boiler chimney, finished in maroon and black with yellow trim, 75 cm long, 33 cm high

A stationary steam engine by ADE Sweden, circa 1940 in original box. Length 13 cm