Product Idea |

Gellerat Steam Roller


This is Paris, 1881. Monsieur Eugène Gellerat has a city contract to keep the roads in shape. His Rouleau Compresseur à Vapeur, or steam roller, was developed for that very purpose.

The engine has a number of remarkable features, which are represented in this model: Two cylinders with sliding valves, set at angle of 45° above the front roller, drive a main shaft. An arrangement of gears and chains transfers the motion to the rollers. Steering is effected by tilting both rollers in opposite directions around a pivot point on their axles on the engine's right hand side, by a spindle mechanism attached to the free left hand side of the rollers. My head was spinning when I first saw this design. My Lego Gellerat roller is a working proof of concept.

This model is a tribute to Cherry Hill, who in my eyes is the world's best model engineer. I encountered her creation in the book Cherry's Model Engines by David Carpenter, which is a celebration of her craftsmanship. Cherry builds her models after extensive research completely from scratch, in a scale of 1:16. Each model takes her about 7.000 hours to make. They are beyond awesome, highly rewarded, and about the most inspiring pieces of craftsmanship I have ever seen.

It is impossible with Lego bricks to come anywhere close to Cherry's model engines, which are bit by bit a miniaturized copy of original machines, some of which even never got beyond the drawing board, and had to be developed into working condition by her.

But I believe my model gives tribute to the ingenuity and style of 19th century engineering, and to the mastership of Cherry Hill.

Here's to you, Cherry.


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