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"Basil Harley" Unknown

Date ?




This must be the best known unknown steam toy in the business! It is mentioned in Basil Harley's book "Toyshop Steam" with a photo but is stated to be of unknown make. It has been discussed by collectors in on-line forums and groups, and several examples have been found, but the maker is still unidentified. It's often referred to as "The Basil Harley Unknown".

It is a simple vertical engine of typical British manufacture. It has a single wick meths burner (I'm not sure if this is original). The boiler is 2 1/4" diameter x 2 1/2" high. It has a dummy chimney with no flue. There is a safety valve on the top of the boiler but no other fittings and no water level indication.

Steam is fed directly to the back of the port face of a single acting oscillating cylinder, 9/32" bore x 5/8" stroke. The crank pin is fitted directly on the flywheel and appears to be cast in. The brass flywheel is 1 3/4" diameter. On the other end of the crankshaft is a 13/32" diameter pulley.

The whole engine has been fully restored by a previous owner, repainted and a new reproduction safety valve fitted. The engine works well on compressed air but it runs poorly in steam. I suspect a problem with the burner because it keeps running out of steam and there are no obvious major leaks.

Make Unknown
Model Unknown
Made Unknown
Description Stationary
Cylinders 1
Cylinder Type single acting
Piston Diam mm 7
Stroke mm 16
Valve Type Oscillating Cylinder
Boiler Type Vertical
Fuel Meths
Mechanical Condition Poor
Cosmetic Condition Good
Paintwork Repainted
Packaging
Purchased 6/3/2017
Purchase cost 90
Additional spend