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Steam-Powered Workshop


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Welcome to my workshop! This is a model of a late 19th century factory. The power of steam is harnessed to drive several machine tools.

"Industrialization" meant two things. Firstly, employing power sources beyond the physical labour of man and beast, and secondly, splitting up the work process into many simple steps that could each be performed efficiently by labourers with no masterly skills (this is true for manufacturing as well as for management processes, by the way).

Now let's look at the model: A stationary locomobile, that is a compact small-to-medium power steam engine, is coupled to a transmission that runs along the work shop. The different tools are coupled to the transmission by belt drives. There are five machine tools: a circular blade saw, a drill press, a turning lathe, a bench grinder, and an eccentric press.

The set comes with four workers. The engineer is stoking the fire. There is a supply of coal and a shovel included. Look inside the fire box, how it's blazing! Two craftsmen are operating the tools, and a fourth worker is busy at the work bench assembling and painting the manufactured goods. I'd love this to be a toy factory, but your imagination is the limit to what these folks could be making.

The steam engine and all tools are functional, and the idea of adding Power Functions is quite obvious. Check out the last picture, it's easy to add an electric motor.

I'd love to use plain black rubber bands, but so far I had to make do with the coloured household rubber bands that come in all different sizes.

I did think about adding a shed, but that would bring up the part count considerably, while hiding the workshop from view and access. It might still be sensible to add some sort of building if this was to be part of the Modular Building series. As it is now, the model takes 525 bricks.

My inspiration to this set came from the historic work shop displayed at the German Museum of Technology in Berlin ( It is shown in operation on a regular basis. My kids and me are fascinated by the way all things move when the steam engine is put into operation. Now imagine the smell of hot oil and metal, and you're nearly there!

Please support this project if you like it. If you feel it could be improved, tell me what it would take to make it better.

Thanks to all Lego friends out there,