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Mersey 52

Late 1930s






The Mersey Model Co Ltd was only in production for a few years (1937-1939) in Liverpool before their head office was, reputedly, bombed in the early stages of the war. In that time they made a small range of popular well made engines, many of which have survived to this day. This is an example of one of the most popular - the model 52. It is a nice looking engine, mounted on a varnished plywood base, with a distinctive inclined cylinder.

One of the characteristics of Mersey engines is that the three wick meths burner sits under the base with the three wick holders poking through holes in the wood. This means that the wood tends to get badly charred and this example is no exception. Some were supplied with metal plates either over or under the wood to provide some protection. This one had a plate on top, which protected the wood from the heat of the flame while operating but not during insertion while lit. There are large holes in the side of the firebox, which were probably intended to provide access to light the wicks in situ. However, most owners didn't realise this or found it difficult so they still lit the wick externally and inserted them, burning, through the holes in the wood. To alleviate this in the future, I have made a second metal plate for the bottom of the base. (See the bottom photo on the left.)

The three wick burner is a little over the top for the small boiler - 2" diameter x 4 3/16" long. The boiler has a conventional safety valve and whistle, a central steam feed and a chimney. The steam is fed via a lubricator to the engine frame, which is inclined at about 30 degrees to the horizontal. The cylinder is a simple single acting oscillating type, 11/32" diam x 3/4" stroke. The crankshaft is fitted with a disk crank, a central solid brass flywheel, 1 1/2" diameter x 1/2", and a small pulley on the opposite end.

I have not done extensive restoration on this engine. Minor repairs were necessary because, it appears, the engine had been dropped or bashed in some way at some time in the past. The engine frame was slightly shifted on the base, the pipework was bent at a peculiar angle and some of the soldered joints were slightly loose. I fixed all this, replaced a couple of washers and generally cleaned off the worst of the dirt. I also fitted the metal plate as mentioned above and fitted new wicks. I have since fixed several steam leaks and it now works better than ever; at least, while it's been in my possession.

Make Model Made Description Cylinders Cylinder Type
Mersey 52 Late 1930s Stationary 1 single acting
Piston Diam mm Stroke mm Valve Type Boiler Type Fuel Mechanical Condition
8.75 19 Oscillating Cylinder Horizontal Meths Good
Cosmetic Condition Paintwork Packaging Purchased Purchase cost Additional cost
Good Original
Mar 2007 46.00