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Victorian Metal Models Aveling 1858 traction engine


This model is based on a portable engine converted for self propulsion by Thomas Aveling in 1858. The maker of this model describes it as a traction engine but I don't think that Aveling ever did. This type of engine is usually described as a self propelled portable.

The model is almost all brass with, curiously, a bronze drive band. It is quite small by the standards of Mamod and Wilesco, but not small enough to be classified as a miniature. The boiler is approx 100mm long x 35mm diameter. It is fired by a solid fuel tablet burner. It is fitted with a safety valve and what appears to be a water level overflow plug. However, the plug is near the top of the boiler whereas the instruction say to fill only half full. In traditional portable engine configuration, the cylinder is mounted at the rear, over the fire box, and the crankshaft is just behind the chimney.

The single acting oscillating cylinder has it's port face block fixed directly on the boiler with just a hole for the exhaust, so there is no visible pipework. It is 8.5mm bore x 19mm stroke. The crankshaft has a disk crank at one end and a 52mm diameter spoked flywheel at the other. The flywheel incorporates a 10mm diameter pulley for the drive band. This drives one of the 62mm diameter rear wheels.

The engine stands on a wooden plinth, along with an oval brass plaque which says "Thomas Aveling Original Traction Engine 1858". The plinth incorporates an internal cavity which currently holds a small BA spanner, but was presumably intended to hold other accessories and fuel tablets. The plinth fits neatly into a recess in the bottom of a fancy wooden box, which can be opened to display the model without removing it.

Mechanically, the model appears to be in good working condition. I have, as yet, tested it only on compressed air. Unfortunately, there are a few cosmetic faults. It looks as if the front end of the smoke box has been resoldered at some time. The firebox has a couple of very small cracks caused by the bending during manufacture; probably because of insufficient annealing of the brass. This model is notorious for these cracks and very few are found without any. Some are much worse than this example.

Make Victorian Metal Models Ltd
Model Thomas Aveling Original Traction Engine 1858
Date Made 1976-1986
Description Self propelled portable engine
Cylinders 1
Cylinder Type Single acting
Bore mm 8.5
Stroke mm 19
Valve Type Oscillating cylinder
Boiler Type Horizontal
Boiler Diam mm 35
Boiler length/height mm 100
Fuel Tablets
Mechanical Condition Good?
Cosmetic Condition Fair
Paintwork N/A
Packaging Wooden box
Purchased 3 November 2021
Purchase cost 175
Additional spend