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Wylie Harris "Model Steam Engine"


This is an interesting engine with some novel characteristics. The main one being that the Meths burner is built into the base. There are pros and cons to this design!

The meths burner is incorporated into the base, with a single wick under the boiler and an extension of the base forming the tank. This has the advantage that it's less likely to be overturned (without overturning the whole engine). It has the disadvantage that it's tricky to remove if needed. The boiler is 2" diameter x 4 3/8" long. It has a filler hole at an angle in the side of the boiler, so that it acts as a filler and level indication. There is no safety valve in the original but I have had one made to fit the filler hole, as well as repro filler caps for the boiler and the burner.

The engine bracket is mounted on top of the boiler. The cylinder is a single acting oscillating cylinder; 1/4" bore x 9/16" stroke. The crankshaft has a disk crank at one end and a 2" solid brass flywheel at the other. Attached to the flywheel is a small double pulley with grooves of approx 1/4" and 3/8" diameter.

I bought this engine because it (or something like it) had been on my wants list for some time. As acquired, there were a few parts missing and I have had replicas made. However, there were other indications that this engine had never worked and, indeed, never could have worked when it left the factory. The steam and exhaust ports were nowhere near lining up because the hole in the cylinder had obviously been misdrilled. There were also several other minor problems. If this is how it left the factory then it could never have worked. It could, however, be an attempted repair by a previous owner that went wrong. There is no way to tell for sure.

I have since fixed all the above problems and it is now in working order. It still could do with cosmetic restoration. I have replaced the boiler retaining hoops with spring bands, more like the original (I believe). This allows access to the wick for adjustment.

Make Wylie Harris
Model "Model Steam Engine"
Made Late 1940s?
Description Stationary
Cylinders 1
Cylinder Type single acting
Bore mm 6.5
Stroke mm 14
Valve Type Oscillating cylinder
Boiler Type Horizontal
Boiler Diam mm 51
Boiler length/height mm 111
Fuel Meths
Mechanical Condition Good
Cosmetic Condition Poor
Paintwork Original?
Purchased 7/10/2018
Purchase cost 156
Additional spend 23.67