David Hulse - Steam Engines of the 18th Century

Featuring engines by Thomas Newcomen, James Watt, James Pickard, Matthew Wasborough, Francis Thompson and Richard Trevithick, by David Hulse

In 1974 I started a project which was to occupy all my spare time for the following 30 years. I have researched and constructed in miniature the important steam engines which were built in the 18th century. These engines paved the way for the industrial revolution in the British Isles and which spread to many other countries throughout the world. These 18th engines are usually grouped together and called steam engines; however, they were not steam engines. Steam was used as a means of creating a vacuum against which the earth’s pressure could act. The correct terminology is that they were atmospheric engines. Shown below is me, David Hulse, with my models of these 18th century engines.

David Hulse

As you progress through this site, the engines you will see are all made from exactly the same materials which would have been available to the engineers of the 18th century. The engine houses are built from real bricks at a reduced scale of 1/16 the full size. In order to complete the buildings to house the engines 151,000 ceramic bricks were used and, all were made on a specially designed brick machine. All the metal parts were either machined from solid metal or made by hand forging in my workshop to give the appearance of having been made by the engineers of the 18th century.

Before I retired I was employed as the Chief Development Engineer for the Royal Doulton group of potteries and it was this use of ceramics which gave me the knowledge to make the parts that are not commercially available to model makers. A start will now be made by describing the brick making because without an economical way of producing the bricks none of these engines I have researched would have been made : Miniature Brick Making Machine

For all of you who missed the news article that ITV ran about my Steam Engines then just Click Here!

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