Bowman Stationary Engines
Introduced in 1929, the model 122 was the larger of the two twin cylinder engines in the Bowman range.
This one came to me as a swap for an SEL Standard. It was in pieces and incomplete, but had the makings of an interesting addition to the collection. The chimney was long gone and it would originally have had lubricator pots fitted. The characteristic cylinder covers were also missing and there was no burner. However, there were all the essential parts to make a working engine. As there was no whistle the first task was to make a blanking piece from an old safety valve. A search in the spares box yielded a Bowman gear wheel, which was fitted and the engine was returned to running order. Cosmetically it was in a pretty poor state so all the painted parts were re-sprayed in the traditional red and green colours.
I suppose I should really try and find replacements for the missing parts. That said; I rather like the look of it as it is. It has a purposeful air about it, it runs beautifully and I enjoy watching it work, so there is quite a strong possibility that it will stay as it is.
To see a complete M122 check out Odilon Marcenaro's web site.
Ever since I first became interested in steam toys I had wanted a Bowman and the M135 is a classic example of the marque. It is well designed, superbly built and powerful.
This lovely engine was the first Bowman I bought. Considering that it is somewhere around 80 years old it is in excellent condition. It was totally complete except for the little tap that fits in the lubricator pot. Fortunately these are readily available as spare parts so a replacement was sourced and fitted.
I have made no attempt to restore the engine as the overall condition is very good, it has been left "as found". The engine runs beautifully, as a Bowman should.
To quote my friend Odilon Marcenaro "This is the essential Bowman …and I think it would make a good starting point for anyone considering adding a Bowman or two to their collection." - I couldn't agree more!
This engine is the star Bowman in my collection. It is a superb example of the company’s smaller twin cylinder engine and makes an interesting comparison with the larger M122 (shown above). Like all Bowmans this engine is beautifully made, runs like a dream and is surprisingly powerful for its size.
I was delighted to be able to buy this beauty when a very good friend offered it to me. It is in fantastic condition, the paintwork is all original and it has a beautifully clear Bowman transfer. The spirit burner is sound; all that was required was new length of wick. It even still has its little boiler-filling funnel and is complete with the original wooden box. Whoever owned this one back in the 1930s really looked after it and treated it with care. The condition is fantastic and owning it is a real pleasure.
Its performance is every bit as good as its looks, it runs like a Swiss watch. Geoffrey Jenkins certainly knew how make superb steam engines.
This nice example of a Bowman M158 was bought via an ebay auction. I was pleased to find that it was in very sound mechanical condition and ran well. However, it was very tatty when originally purchased. As there was not a lot of the original paint surviving I decided that it warranted restoration back to its former glory.
The restoration started with a thorough clean and polish of all the brass, which has come up a treat. The fire box was sprayed with heat resistant black paint. The engine mounting and base were re-sprayed in the appropriate colours.
To complete the restoration a reproduction Bowman transfer was made by printing the logo onto inkjet decal paper. The transfer was then varnished before fixing to the base. Incidentally the decal paper was obtained from Crafty Computer Paper.
The burner had to be rebuilt as the original tube had rusted away, a common problem with Bowmans as the tube was made from very thin gauge metal. A slot was cut in a piece of brass tube using a carborundum disk in a mini-drill, the end was sealed and the tube was soldered into the original fuel container, which happily was sound.
Although M167 does not have a geared countershaft, like other Bowman models of the period, it still features a turned brass flywheel and its build quality is fully up to the Bowman standard. This example does not have the chimney, which was available as an optional extra.
When I acquired the engine I was pleased to find that its condition was not too bad at all. It was complete with its original burner and in fact it ran very well. However, at some point in its life a previous owner had repainted the base. As the paint had been rather badly applied and the colour used was incorrect, I decided that it deserved to have the base restored to the correct colour.
The model 167 was the smallest and cheapest engine in the original Bowman range. It was produced from 1928 to 1931.
Bowman engines were available with wooden bases, indicated by the E prefix to their model number, as well as the Meccano compatible metal bases. The wooden based engines were not made in anywhere near the same numbers as the more familiar metal based ones.
Apart from the green painted wooden base this E167 is identical to the M167 illustrated above. Only being made in 1928 and 1929, the production run of the E167 was shorter that that of its metal based brother. The engine is in excellent overall condition, the wooden base having survived the ravages of time with no physical damage, no trace of woodworm and its paint virtually intact. Fully complete and with its original burner, all that this super little engine has needed was a gentle clean, a relacement washer for the safety valve and a new wick in the burner.
Introduced in 1932, towards the end of Bowman's period as a steam toy manufacturer, the little M180 could be regarded as a "cost reduced" Bowman. It was a replacement for the M167, which was withdrawn from the catalogue. The flywheel is made from die-cast metal, probably mazac, and is not the turned brass offering of earlier days. The chimney is made from tinplate rather than brass. That said the engine is still solidly constructed and, as befits a Bowman, runs beautifully.
Regrettably, the original burner was not with the engine when it was purchased, these do tend to go astray over the years.
Rather tatty when first found, this super little engine has been fully restored by cleaning and repainting in the appropriate colours.