Product Idea |

Steam Fire Engine


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My project represents a steam fire engine by the 'Wagenbauanstalt und Waggonfabrik vorm. W. C. F. Busch AG' of Bautzen (Saxonia), shortly Busch - Bautzen. I designed it from a single catalog drawing, which likely represents a prototype delivered to the Chemnitz Fire Dept. in 1910. Several similar engines were made by Busch - Bautzen. One from 1914 is preserved in a Dresden museum.

In 1901, Busch - Bautzen made the first German automobile - that means self-propelled - fire pump, beating Magirus in Cologne by a year. Horse-drawn steam fire pumps have been in use from the 1860ies until after WW1.

When automobile fire engines became popular in the first decade of the 20th century, three methods of propulsion were competing. Those were: time-proven steam drive, the new-fangled capricious gasolene engine, and the simple and reliable electric engine, most commonly as wheel hub motors of Lohner-Porsche design. History settled for the gas engine within a couple of years, beacuse it could start instantly, had enough power for driving and pumping, needed less space, and could quickly be 'gassed up' when fuel was empty.

Mind you, steam engines were developed to a high standard, too. The boilers of the later steam fire engines were petroleum-fired, which meant easy automatic firing with almost no smoke. For short dispatch times, engines were started on compressed carbon dioxide (which was kept in the steel gas bottles you can see on the model), until enough steam had been raised. Steam pumps were powerful enough to deliver up to 5.000l of water per minute. And the machines could be serviced in every work shop.

I am presenting you a steam-driven steam fire engine of ca. 1910 design.

Details include:

  • automobile steam fire pump on the two engine priciple: one for driving, the other one for pumping
  • two upright twin-cylinder steam engines
  • driving effected by sprocket and chain drive on rear axle from driving engine
  • pump cylnders directly coupled to piston rods of pumping engine and mounted in straight line underneath
  • functional water pump, jet length ca. 0.5m, all original Lego
  • upright boiler with petroleum burner and fittings
  • front axle steering by worm gear drive
  • acessories include fire hose, hydrant, detachable hose cart, fire extinguishers, fireman's axe

The presented model has about 1250 parts. It was mostly designed virtually (in LDD), but has been tested for roadworthiness and playability in brick form.


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