Mill engine expert needed

Hi I posted this to model engineering newsgroup and they have pointed me to this group for an answer.

I have owned an old twin cylinder mill engine for the last 16 years and I haven't been able to find out much about it, I have never seen anything else like it!

It is quite large 28" long by 16". The flywheel is 12" across. The outside of the cylinders is 3.5" and the length is 5.5" It needs 2 people to lift it.

It is very old possibly Victorian? On a mahogany base with mahogany cylinder lagging.

Unfortunately the plaque is missing from the base, I can see faintly where it would of been years ago.

The only clue I have is that someone thought it was a demonstration model possibly for the company Tangye of Smethwick Birmingham, as far as I know it has always been in Birmingham which is where I am and where the previous owner kept it. They thought it would of been for the sales person selling the full size engine and he would show the customers this scaled down version.

I have never run it and think it would need the valves cleaning up, also one of the lagging strips is missing.

I believe there was originally 2 engines and one vertical boiler but the other engine and the boiler was given to a school never to be seen again.

I have put some photos online but they are quite large and may take some time to load

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It is too large for my little house and I am thinking of letting it go to someone that will be able to appreciate it and show it off. I will be sad to see it go after all these years but money it tight.

Does anyone have any clues to the history of this engine and what it may be worth? Is ebay the right place to try and sell it? Are there enough collectors of this sort of thing looking on ebay or is there a more specialist place to advertise it.

Any help would be really appreciated.


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Seems unlikely, IMHO.

It's a fairly simple engine, but appears to have been constructed relatively lately, probably after any such engines were being comissioned new. As a "mill engine" it's still running on slide valves, not even piston valves, nor is it a compound. Now as a sales demonstrator, I'd have expected to see the very latest in modern features, such as Corliss valvegear and packing-free labyrinth glands.

Some of the manufacture is also far from "engineer like". It's well made, but the design isn't how someone familiar with such engines would have done it. Slot head screws, rather than bolts? Screw-down greasers on the mains, but no oiler for the slideways. Slideways which, for that matter, don't have oil grooves chiselled into them. I can't see the big ends, but (saints preserve us!) bolted eccentric straps, with a slot-head screw!

Yet the workmanship looks pretty good and the castings look neat. Even the upper slideway is cast (or made to look that way).

My guess is that it's made from a commercial set of castings, some time in the '50s or '60s. Perusing old Model Engineers and their adverts might spot the design. The maker was a skilful amateur or (in those days) probably a professional machinist - but not someone who worked on mill engines themselves.

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Andy Dingley

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