Rudi Michetschlager


This Steeple Engine by Rudi Michetschlager was photographed at the 2017 Midlands exhibition. It is to Anthony Mount’s design.

The steeple engine was an attempt in the early 1800s to create a lighter and more efficient version of the beam engine, saving both space and weight.

Anthony explains that a Steeple engine is so called because of the resemblance of the piston rod extension to a church steeple. “It is sometimes confused in model engineering circles to a table engine, but the difference is quite easy to see. The cylinder in a table engine literally sits on a table. With the crankshaft below the table. With a steeple engine the cylinder sits at floor level and the crankshaft passes over the cylinder. This is apart from marked differences between the piston and connecting rod arrangements...

“The first steeple engines were designed by Napier in the 1830s for use in paddle boats. The cylinder went in the bottom of the boat, the crankshaft was at deck level, and the upper section was housed in a deck house.

“The model is based on a land engine of the 1860s. The flywheel construction is quite interesting. Full size the boss and rim were cast around wrought iron spokes laid in the foundry mould. This is not possible in a model, so the boss is built up and the rim is a gunmetal casting that can be machined all round. The spokes are rods Loctited in position. The lathe is used as a jig to hold them in position while the Loctite cures.”