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Linemar J-4816 Atomic Reactor

1960s










This rather impressive toy is part steam and part battery powered. The fancy looking tower contains two light bulb fittings and a mechanism for moving one of them about and flshing the other. The light bulbs are battery powered and the mechanism is powered by the steam engine.

The steel boiler is a roughly hemispherical dome shape, 91mm diameter and approx 65mm high. It is fired by a tablet burner in a cylindrical firebox. The boiler has a safety valve and steam outlet near the top of the dome. The safety valve on this example appears to be a Wilesco one which, I assume, is not original.

The steam is fed to a piston type steam valve on a single acting fixed cylinder. The valve is operated by a slip eccentric providing reversibility. There is a lubricating point mounted on top of the steam valve. The cylinder is approx 11mm bore x 17mm stroke. Exhaust is fed via a long pipe to the edge of the base and, for some reason, passes through the base of the tower (presumably for visual effect only).

The crankshaft has a simple crank at one end, with a dummy counterweight and slip eccentric. Between the bearings is a 66mm spoked steel flywheel. The inner end of the crankshaft is fitted with a plastic coupling and an extension rod into the tower. This operates the mechanism which moves one light bulb back and forth and flashes the other. The lights are visible through four red plastic windows and a red plastic dome, which looks rather like a miniature distributor cap for a car engine! The light bulb is wired up to a battery holder adjacent to the tower, the top cover of which incorporates a crude switch consisting of a screw that can be screwed down to make contact with the end of the battery.

Condition is generally quite good. However, many parts appear to be modern reproductions. It came in a cardboard box that is definitely a repro, covered in a photocopy of the original.

Make LineMar
Model J-4816 "Atomic Reactor"
Made 1960s
Description Stationary
Cylinders 1
Cylinder Type single acting with slip eccentric reversing
Bore mm 11
Stroke mm 17
Valve Type Piston
Boiler Type Hemispherical
Boiler Diam mm 91
Boiler length/height mm 65
Fuel Tablets
Mechanical Condition Good
Cosmetic Condition Good
Paintwork Mostly original
Packaging Repro cardboard box
Purchased 30 June 2019
Purchase cost 287.23
Additional spend