Stationary fairground steam engine (Steam Fairground)

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

A small working model of a stationary fairground steam engine, intended to be attached to a model fairground ride. This is part of the Steam Fairground set that was donated to the museum in 2015.


The engine is built on a rectangular base roughly the size of a matchbox, and has dummy boiler with a flat base and curved top, on the top of which is a single cylinder and piston, and a large heavy flywheel.

Although the base and body serve no functional purpose, the piston chamber is fitted with an intake port, suggesting that the flywheel was intended to drive a to fairground attraction, when supplied with an external source of steam or compressed air.

The hollow wooden base has two locator pins and a screw body on one side, with the other end of the threaded rod emerging on the other side and bent into the shape of a handle. This suggests that the piece was supposed to attach and detach to other pieces in the same way as a real piece of fairground equipment.

The piece is clearly not meant for stand-alone use – not only does it require anchoring to be able to drive anything from the flywheel, the light base and heavy high flywheel makes it so top-heavy and side-heavy that it it is prone to falling over if nudged, if it's not firmly attached to something.