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Marklin 4158/91/7 - Oh boy is this cool

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delalio

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As some of you may know, I'm in my mid-30s. Into model engineering, live steam and engines. I have a Myford Super 7 in my living room. It's my house, so why not!

Anyway, with Covid and lockdown, lots of people I know are talking about hobbies and how we are passing our time, and I've been posting quite a few YouTube videos on my adventures.

Long story short, my partner's grandparents got wind of my escapades and offered me a "beat-up old steam plant" they have had in their shed since ~1975.


So this is it, in the exact state I collected it:

From what I can tell it' s a 1910ish Marklin 4158/91/7.
I've managed to find digital copies of the original adverts / catalogue.

So I guess my question is, should I renovate it? I've got the lathe and all, but is something like this too good to touch?

I also had it running, from my compressor, (directly into the boiler steam outlet pipe, not through the boiler) and the thing actually turns over. Pretty nicely. It has a slight knock, which I think is from a loose big end, but the wheels spin true, and there is minimal play on the main crankshaft.

Video to follow shortly!

Stay Safe,

Del
 

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BobsModels

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Hi
My wife collects steam engine sets like these, Marklin, Bing, etc. She has over 140 of them. Her advice is do not touch it! Take it apart and clean it. No wire brush, no sand paper, or anything abrasive. She also collects old toy sewing machines. I clean these up for her. I am just finishing cleaning up a German sewing machine from 1884. It takes a lot of patience and finding methods of cleaning off dirt and rust etc. There are lots of suggestions on rust just use very dilute solutions. You will be surprised what can be done.

Point is i do not try and get back to "shiny new state" they are 100+ years old. The patina they have generated needs to be preserved.

Bob
 

radial1951

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....... It takes a lot of patience and finding methods of cleaning off dirt and rust etc. There are lots of suggestions on rust just use very dilute solutions. You will be surprised what can be done.

Point is i do not try and get back to "shiny new state" they are 100+ years old. The patina they have generated needs to be preserved.

Bob
Absolutely agree. By all means have a play with it every now and then. If I would be so lucky to have such a piece...

Very carefully clean only the gunk off and lube everything well. Leave the patina exactly how it is. Put it in a glass case with bags of silica gel hidden under it. Have a low pressure air line going in and an exhaust line coming out. Give it a run, show it off to other admirers and just enjoy seeing a beautiful piece of model engineering running just as it was meant to do.

If you really must clean it up, take Bob's advice and research the methods and processes very well before touching it. The "as found" patina is everything.

It is in amazingly undamaged condition and complete even to the weight on the safety valve and all boiler fittings. Not to mention the oil cups and the governor. Just beautiful... Sorry to gush over it, but it is that good.

Regards,
Ross.
 

delalio

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Hello again all,

Thanks for your input. I'll be honest, I hadn't really understood its value or relevance. Because of that I haven't touched it, other than oil it and loosen the pistons, and given it a single run on compressed air.

From the way you guys are talking, this really is an exceptional piece? It's not just another mass produced steam plant of little relevance.

If you had to put a figure on it, roughly what ball park are we talking? Its definitely not for sale, I'm just curious, as I cannot seem to find any info online for them. Most of the stuff I have found is for completely different Marklin plants, or the re-released version from 2004. Are we talking ~ mid hundreds? More? Less?

My experience is mostly in the cast kits that require machining, which seem to be expensive for the metal contents by weight.
I'm thinking of the Stuart style castings kits, from £100 for a 10V through to about £900 for something like the Major Beam kit.
My understanding is that a well machined kit is worth roughly 4x the casting kit cost. So a well built 10V would be ~£400?

I also have an old Mamod steam plant, and the SteamRoller, but I guess these are of lesser value? They appear to be fairly common in the UK, and can be picked up for ~£50 quite easily.


I feel it could be nice to get it back fully working as intended, with the working burners?

There seems to be a few different obvious levels of work:
0 - Do nothing
1 - Basic clean/wash, re-oil/lubricate
2 - Replace consumables / wear items like the wicks and the rubbers on the oilers, change the ball-bearing and seals in the pump, governor drive belt, etc.
3 - Fix broken parts (see exhaust pipe below)
4 - Deeper clean, and try prevent further rust
5 - Replace/repair loose fitting parts (Big end / con-rod)
6 - Re-polish of rusty parts (flywheels)
7 - Polish faded / patina-ed parts - Make it shiny!
8 - Repaint rusted and damaged parts

I was originally looking to do 1-7/8 before I sought advice from you gents.
Now I am thinking maybe levels 1-3/4?

Would pressure testing the boiler with water be a silly move??
I was hoping to replace the 2 wicks in the burner tray and giving that a clean up and making it functional.

Oh, I forgot to mention, it has the complete burner tray, a chimney stack, a dynamo, some style of search-light, all the oilers and caps (with Oel engraving on them too), and the fully complete governor (for aesthetics. I am of the impression the governors were all non-functional with respect to connection to the steam line). It also appears to be in the original wooden box that I *think* it came in. Some other people with videos online seem to have the same wooden box.


Damaged / Non-functional / Missing items:
  • Wires on the search lamp. These are completely perished and useless.
  • Exhaust pipe - bad soft-solder repair appears to have been carried out.
  • Drive belt / spring to connect between flywheel and dynamo / generator.
  • Drive belt / spring connecting crankshaft to governor is damaged. (It has a big kink in it)

Potential Other Work:
  • On initial inspection, there appears to be a small amount of surface rust, most noticeably on the flywheels. I had been considering removing them and giving them a spin/polish on the lathe to return them back to their original shiny beauty.
  • I also am not a big fan of the slot head screws holding everything together, so was considering (keeping them, and) making replacement brass / blackened steel hex bolts to go in their place.
  • The only other thing which I have noticed, is underneath, the exhaust steam pipe appears to be soft-soldered badly onto the exhaust. I was considering removing this and repairing it with silver solder. (I have some experience with that so am fairly confident that would be fairly simple, and much neater than the current state.)
  • Lastly, the pipework obviously looks very aged. Would removing them and giving them all a clean up / polish be a bad idea? This also goes for all the boiler fittings, and governor, flywheels etc. I suspect once one part is cleaned it then looks out of place, and then leads to wanting to polish other parts.
  • The final thing I guess would be mounting it on a nice display board, with a groove in it for a glass/Perspex box/cover??

Thanks in advance for your help.

Del
 

BobsModels

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I would recommend the following from your list:

  • Do 1 and 2 first, clean as best you can.
  • Do not pressure test boiler, these were designed to fail. They are for the most part soft soldered together. Most run at less than 30 pounds. Certainly fire it up slowly at some point. Keep pressure low.
  • Drive belts get new ones fine
Potential Other Work:

“ On initial inspection, there appears to be a small amount of surface rust, most noticeably on the flywheels. I had been considering removing them and giving them a spin/polish on the lathe to return them back to their original shiny beauty.”
Not a good idea, first try and remove as much rust as possible with light lubricant and non metallic brush, or rag and lots of elbow grease! See how it looks at this point. If the original plated finish is gone ie rusted through then trying to polish will be at best not good looking. If there is a lot of the original finish then get some auto polishing compound or rouge, lots of lubrication and hand polish to see if you can bring it up. If that gets a nice finish back then use Simichrome to give a final polish. You must use real fine polish as you cannot scratch the original plating or your done.

“ I also am not a big fan of the slot head screws holding everything together, so was considering (keeping them, and) making replacement brass / blackened steel hex bolts to go in their place.”
Once again no that was the standard for these models, I doubt you can find any commercial that would have the correct threads. Removing those screws and other original stuff and replacing them really drops the value by at least 50% or more.

“ The only other thing which I have noticed, is underneath, the exhaust steam pipe appears to be soft-soldered badly onto the exhaust. I was considering removing this and repairing it with silver solder. (I have some experience with that so am fairly confident that would be fairly simple, and much neater than the current state.)” I to do lots of silver brazing, and you are very likely to remove any plated finish that exists on the pipe, practice your soft soldering technique, you might try Harris Stay Brite. Again try to stay with the original methods.

Lastly, the pipework obviously looks very aged. Would removing them and giving them all a clean up / polish be a bad idea? This also goes for all the boiler fittings, and governor, flywheels etc. I suspect once one part is cleaned it then looks out of place, and then leads to wanting to polish other parts.”
This is a tough one, remember removing the patina lowers the value. Once again you have a choice, I can almost guarantee that you cannot clean every nook and cranny of the small parts to make them look the same, but if you do a dirt removal and complete cleaning they will be consistent.

"The final thing I guess would be mounting it on a nice display board, with a groove in it for a glass/Perspex box/cover??" Great idea.

As you can see I believe in less is more. Really do a good job on cleaning first, examine carefully the fly wheels for original surface, you really want to keep it original. If in the end you do not like what you see then as you noted with your Myford “its my house” then proceed, since after the cleaning you will see what you actually have to work with.

As for value, here is a nice one in the same box you have not sure what era other than pre WWII for sure:

Marklin 4158/9/94 Compound Steam Engine Generating Plant Model | eBay

There used to be a Marklin collector/dealer in the Netherlands, Aart C. Van der Zouwen. I cannot find any link to him any longer and his web site cannot be found. He dealt in these older style ones.

One of the nice things about yours is it is a compound steam engine ( they do not run on air as smooth) so it has that uniqueness.

Good Luck

Bob
 

Richard Hed

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As some of you may know, I'm in my mid-30s. Into model engineering, live steam and engines. I have a Myford Super 7 in my living room. It's my house, so why not!

Anyway, with Covid and lockdown, lots of people I know are talking about hobbies and how we are passing our time, and I've been posting quite a few YouTube videos on my adventures.

Long story short, my partner's grandparents got wind of my escapades and offered me a "beat-up old steam plant" they have had in their shed since ~1975.


So this is it, in the exact state I collected it:

From what I can tell it' s a 1910ish Marklin 4158/91/7.
I've managed to find digital copies of the original adverts / catalogue.

So I guess my question is, should I renovate it? I've got the lathe and all, but is something like this too good to touch?

I also had it running, from my compressor, (directly into the boiler steam outlet pipe, not through the boiler) and the thing actually turns over. Pretty nicely. It has a slight knock, which I think is from a loose big end, but the wheels spin true, and there is minimal play on the main crankshaft.

Video to follow shortly!

Stay Safe,

Del
That is simply TOO COOL, but I have you beat in one point: MY lathe is in the bed room, I KIKT my wife out and put her in the basement.
 

BobsModels

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Del

Here is my current cleaning project for one of Gen’s sewing machines. It was made in about 1885. I am showing you four pictures of the base. I used the following to get from the before to the after.
  • Soaked in dish soap and water for two days, just a few squirts in the water.
  • Used a rough cloth (old towel) to loosen and get a lot off
  • Next I took automotive rubbing compound to the feet and the lower area of the base, ie the feet and that really bad lower rail. Very carefully, did not want to remove paint only crud. ---- Was I surprised what I found under all that crud. Taking off dirt, not finish.
  • Then automotive polishing compound on all the base, carefully a little bit then clean off, take a look, and more until I got a real nice clean looking art work and paint finish. This still cleaning dirt off.
  • I used Simichrome polish as the last cleaning step, again easy does it just last bit of dirt.
  • Two coats of paste wax for protection.
I would guess I have about 20 – 25 hours in that base. As you can see the area along the bottom ie the rails and the feet are dramatic in the before and after. The rest went from a very dull dirty looking finish to brighter colors and real nice shine that was under the dirt, which is what that would have looked like originally. You want to check you cleaning cloth often to make sure you are not taking off finish only dirt.

One thing I know from experience is the older the object the more durable the paint (ie no EPA). You can be a little rougher with it when cleaning. That same base if done with today’s paint technology would have had no finish at all with my above procedure. So before you start find a spot that is unseen and test your approach. I did that with this on the underside of the base.

Bob

Base Before:

Base-Before.jpg


Base After:
Base-After.jpg


Foot Before:
Foot-Before.jpg


Foot After:
Foot-After.jpg
 
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