Traction engine with electrical generator (Steam Fairground)

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

A working steam-powered model of a fairground traction engine with front-mounted electrical generator. This is part of the Steam Fairground set that was donated to the museum in 2015.

Engineering details

  • Steering is authentic, with a chain-steered front axle turned by winding a handle in the cab.
  • The main axle is driven via a three-gear system.
  • At the front of the engine, on top of a jutting front to the boiler is a small working electrical generator, that can be driven with a driveband fitted around the flywheel.
  • The cab has a lever that disconnects that first smaller cog from the drivewheel gears, so that the engine can be used as a stationary engine to drive just the generator.

The burner is a squat metal cylinder with a wick that sits under the boiler, attached to a sloped curved metal feeder pipe that protrudes from the back of the cab floor, and can be withdrawn for servicing. The end of the feeder pipe has a small cylindrical refuelling point, which has been made from a bullet cartridge casing.


The engine had been at least partly repainted, with the fat cylindrical boiler repainted in green and yellow, perhaps to repair heat damage from being steamed.

The engine's cab sides and rear (and the generator) have earlier paintwork that has escaped overpainting (perhaps because these parts are less accessible to a paintbrush without disassembling the engine), and are dark purple-red with red lining, which would have been more suitable for a fairground engine. The wheel spokes have a similar colour scheme, but are very dark. It's possible that the original paintwork has subsequently been varnished-over, which might also have affected the colours if the varnish then darkened.