Beam Engines



Page Beam Engine

This is a model of a pioneering electric engine designed by Dr. Charles Grafton Page around 1838. Dr. Page based his design on contemporary steam powered beam engines and it is probable that the Page engine was the first practical electric motor. In the years up to 1850 many engines of Dr. Pageís design were built and sold by Daniel Davis Jr. in Boston.

Model Beam Engine

The model was built from one of the range of fully machined kits produced by the Old Model Company of Chichester, England (kit OMC-2). The design of the model captures perfectly the style of early Victorian engineering.

The operation of the engine is quite simple. Contact breakers on the crank axle cause the two pairs of coils to be energised alternately. These act on a pivoted steel armature causing it to rock. One end of the armature is attached to the beam, which moves up and down and the other end of the beam drives the flywheel via a crank. The engine runs beautifully and is joy to watch operating.

The construction of this model is described in a build diary.

Wooden Beam Engine

Itís not often that an electromagnetic engine comes up for sale on ebay but that is where I found this one. It is an electromagnetic beam engine made mainly from wood.

Model Beam Engine

Picture of book When I first saw it I thought there was something about it that looked familiar. I had a quick look through some of my books and found the design in my copy of "Simple Electrical Working Models, How to Make Them and Use Them". This book was one of the Model Engineer series of handbooks originally published about 1910, in England, by Percival Marshall & Co.

The engine is featured on the cover of my reprint edition published by Lindsay's Technical Books in 2001.

I actually have no idea when it was built but it looks like it has been around for a while. The varnish shows quite a lot of aging in places and that together with the screws all having slot heads makes the engine look fairly old.

I connected it to a twelve volt supply and after cleaning and adjusting the break contact I am happy to say that it runs well.

Video clip of the Wooden Beam Engine running