Unusual Steam Engines.

Updated: 17 June 2008
Brotherhood test added
Axial engines moved to new page
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This gallery of the Museum of RetroTech is intended to cover all those steam engines that are unconventional but do not fit into any of the other steam engine galleries of the museum. These other galleries are:

The engines shown on this page are inevitably a rather mixed collection; about the one thing they have in common is that they have more or less conventional pistons, unlike the vanes and rotors of the Rotary Steam Engines.



The Brotherhood engine was a popular and successful three-cylinder radial design that was adapted for various operating fluids. A large number were used as water engines, for driving hydraulic capstans in docks and so on, but they were also widely used as steam engines. One version for steam use is shown here, but there were probably other versions of the design.
It is notable that the steam version shows considerable design differences from the water-driven version.

Left: The Brotherhood Radial Engine: axial section.

A intriguing feature of this engine is the use of large spherical pivots instead of a conventional "little end" bearing inside the pistons. The main exhaust valve is a port uncovered by the sphere as the angle of the connecting rod changes. There are also uniflow-like supplementary exhaust ports that are uncovered as the piston reaches the bottom of its stroke. The crankcase is used as an exhaust manifold.

From Modern Power Generators

Left: The Brotherhood Radial Engine: longitudinal section.

This shows the steam inlet arrangements. Steam enters at left and passes through some rather convoluted passages to a piston-type inlet valve, driven from an eccentric on the crankshaft. There appears to be no means of varying the cut-off.

Power is taken off from the flexible coupling on the right.

From Modern Power Generators

Left: The Brotherhood Radial Engine: account of a test.

From Model Engineer & Electrician for 23 June 1904, p593

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