Bob Jorgensen's Model Engines, etc.

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Jul 2, 2021
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MidSouth, USA
I have posted photos of my dad's model engines, two Roper steam bicycle replicas, and Stanley Locomobile replica, but they are buried in another thread.

Dad was a prolific model engine builder, and a retired machinist/repair person, who also operated two full sized steam engines for the family lumber company when he was young.

None of Bob's engines are museum-grade by any measure, but what is impressive is how he started with the most fundamental and simple little wobbler steam engine, and progressed into some very complex designs.

Many of Bob's engines were built due to a challenge from Tom Linday (the Lindsay book guy), who would send him a book, often with a single engine engraving in it, and say "Bet you can't build this one".

My dad would build two engines in about a month, and mail a working engine back to Tom Lindsay.
This became a game, with Tom trying to find an engine that was too complex for Dad to build, and every time dad sending back a working engine to Tom a short time later.

I believe my dad built all his engines in a relatively short period of time before his death, perhaps in an 8 year period or less.

Bob's engines begin at post #112, and stretch onto the next page, at this link:



I use to email Tom Lindsay, and I always encouraged him to build his own model engine.
He always said "Well, if I retire, I may try to do that".
So when he retired from the book business, I emailed him the following:
"Tom: No more excuses. You are retired. Get out to that shop and start building engines ! ".

I still have about 18 of the 38 or so engines that Bob built, including the three hot air engines, the Dake, Robertson Semi-rotary, Direct Connect, Old Mill engine, and quite a few others.

I displayed them at the Soule Steam Festival in 2016 and 2017.







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Really like that Dake model. Ive seen a couple full size ones running and they are fascinating machines. Ive never seen a model, was it a kit or built from scratch?
The Dake was scratch-built.

I started to create drawings for dad's Dake model engine, but Dad was a freelancer, and his models were rough approximations of actual engines.

I had information from a full sized Dake engine, and so I created 2D drawings that are very close to a scaled full size engine, and located here on this forum:

I am planning on casting a Dake about twice the size of my dad's engine.

In 2022 I ran across this Dake on ebay.
Who can pass up a Dake on ebay, one may ask?
Not me. My wife will cut my throat if I buy any more engines though, just so you know.

I had aways assumed that the crankcases with the flutes on them were the earlier models, but after looking at this engine, I believe the fluted crankcase design was actually a later model engine.

The shape of the four port openings located on the face of the inner piston varies, depending on whether the engine will run in one direction only, or whether the engine will also be reversing.
I think the reversing engines had symmetrical ports.



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Thanks Pat. I can see the wall mounted stirling fan in the last photo that was mentioned on MEM even though it turns out it as not that particular engine that the OP had.

Would make a nice model, I may be tempted to do it a bit larger than your father made it probably 40mm bore, his looks to be around 1" bore

I am pretty sure that fan patent is the one dad used to make his fan hot air engine.

I will have to dig out the Ericsson material that dad had, but as I recall, dad's Ericsson information came from a book that was published by Lindsay Books.

In general, the bulk of dad's engine designs came from Linday books and pamphlets, with a few exceptions.
The Dake information came from an Audel book.

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The Soule show had one day where schoolkids from the region would attend, and they were eager to look and learn new things.
I have observed many/most modelers at NAMES and other shows posting signs around their engines which say "DO NOT TOUCH ! ".

For museum-grade engines, obviously one does not want to degrade such an engine.

My dad's engines are functional models, but not museum-grade, and so I see them as learning tools.
My dad felt the same way, and encourage kids and adults to touch and even operate all of his engines.

So I made up several signs at Soule, and posted them around my dad's and my engines, and the signs said "TOUCH THESE ENGINES".
It was hillarious because the young kids would read the signs, and then walk up and start playing with the engines, and rotating them.
Their parents would look horrified, and run up and grab the kid's hand, and pull it away from the engine, and say "Junior, can't you read the sign ?".
The kid would point at the sign and say "But is says 'Touch these engines'", and the look of consternation on the parent's faces was priceless.

You can't learn about engines very well unless you can touch and rotate them.
That is how I learned from my dad's engines.

For some model engine builders, they can't even concieve of model engineering being anything other than them building an elaborate engine for the sole purpose of garnering adulation/admiration/worship from others.

While I admire the eleborate builds as much as anyone, it begs the question, is building model engines only about you, and you getting the most attention at the show, or is it about advancing the hobby of model engineering?

Of course there is nothing wrong with working up to the level that one is capable of achieving, regardless of how complex or elaborate that may be.
There are a number of examples of people with extreme model engineering talent, who are equally interested in sharing knowledge openly, such as what Rich Carlstedt does with his models. I try to be like Rich when I am building and displaying models.

At what I consider the far extreme of the hobby is Cherry Hill, who is a 2nd generation model engine builder.
I am sure that Cherry's models in the museum in the UK are in glass cases, and while I lament that a glass case will limit the experience of seeing her engines, her work is so extraordinary that it would be criminal not to protect it diligently.

Cherry straddles the hobby of model engineering and exquisite/extraordinary artwork.
Sort of the "Mona Lisa" of model engine building in my opinion.

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Pat, over on MEM DAve Otto mentions that there were two Lindsay books with old hot air engine patents in them so suspect it is that patent

Also note it is Erickson not the usual Ericsson spelling which does tie it down to most likely being that design.
I am pretty sure I have all the Lindsay books that dad had, and I recall the hot air engine book, so I will look for that when I get home next time.