Displays in the Carlsbad Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum

 High quality models like this Bucyrus-Erie Shovel were never intended to be toys. At almost $1200 new and made in limited quantities, models like this were crafted by unknown experts in small numbers and are appreciated strictly for their detail and craftsmanship. Engines, more models, miniature guns and other projects are also on display as are some items remembered from the youth of many older craftsmen.  (Click on photo to view a larger image and see below for more photos of this model.) Model donated by Les Cade.

From custom built engines to outstanding commercial models to the toys of a craftsman's youth—See them on display here


The Paul and Paula Knapp Collection

(CLICK HERE to view the entire Knapp miniature engine collection.)

Our featured exhibit is the Internal Combustion Engine Collection on loan from Paul and Paula Knapp's Miniature Engineering Museum in Arizona. The collection on display covers a wide range of engine types from rotary and radial to inline, "V", Wankle and jet turbine. There are also some unique Stirling engines and miniature race cars included among the over 200 engines on display.

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Other Engines and Projects on Display

The Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA has on display a number of pieces that are donated or on loan from craftsmen honored individually on this site. There are also many projects on display made by individual craftsmen or companies that are not featured individually on the site. They are on display because we feel there is something particular about them that highlights an element of craftsmanship or because another craftsman is likely to find their function interesting. Shown below are all items you can examine in close detail when you visit the museum.

Featured Exhibits!


Duesenberg SJ in Miniature

Louis Chenot spent over 10 years building the 6000+ parts in this scratch built masterpiece in 1/6 scale. That's 20,000 hours of almost full time work. The engine runs, the transmission works, the lights work, the top extends...in short, number SJ589 is the smallest and last Duesenberg to be built, and is most likely the finest automotive model ever completed.  It was acquired by the foundation and is now on permanent display along with a 1/6 scale Bentley BR2 rotary aircraft engine also built by Lou. If you could only see one exhibit at the Craftsmanship Museum, this would be it. (Luckily, you don't have to choose, but don't miss this one!)

SR11 Electric RC Car

Built by Nic Case

Nic has been chasing the land speed record for remote control electric cars since 1990. In 1992, he built his first RC car to go 80mph in competition. By 2012, Nic was running a new car design, the RC Bullet, setting the Guinness and ROSSA speed record at 171mph. The SR11 on display has a top speed run of 173mph and was the predecessor to his record setting RC Bullet run of 202mph in Utah.

The carbon-fiber body was originally designed in modeling clay. A virtual wind tunnel was used to confirm the downforce and drag properties of each design. Several had too much drag or not enough downforce. Nic has since retired from straight-line speed running. He knows someone will eventually break his record so he’s moved on with a goal of driving a Speed Run car on a velodrome and having some fun racing dirt oval. Donated by Nic Case 2018.41

Reversible Hot Air Engine
Invented and Built by Daniel Fountain

So, you thought there’s nothing new under the sun with hot air engines. What a surprise when we were shown a recent patent for a new hot air engine design! Dan has had a passion for hot air engines for years. In 2016 he received a patent (US 9,291,122 Bl) for his new invention, a reversible hot air engine.

Dan dropped by the museum to tell us about his invention and asked us if we’d like one to demonstrate in our shop along with our other miniature engines. We are very pleased to announce that we’ve now got one and it’s been a big hit with our visitors. 2018.44

The engine in its enclosure. Because the engine's block and cylinders spin, it must be enclosed for safety purposes.

The engine is seen above with the top half of the safety enclosure removed.



Grunstra Rodless Rotary Engine Prototype

In 1965, Peter C. Grunstra patented a unique new engine design. The small engine claims an amazing amount of horsepower (400 HP!) for its small size according to a cover article in a February, 1967 Science & Mechanics magazine (read the article). Mr. Grunstra received a patent on the engine (read the patent) and some interest from Ford Motor Co. and Cummins but the engine never made it into production. Perhaps emissions requirements that were just starting to be legislated at the time spelled its doom. Nevertheless, it is a very interesting engine, and we have the only one ever made on display along with the original plans drawn by Mr. Grunstra as well as several original patterns and castings used in the building of the running prototype.

Diameter: 18", Length: 24"

Displacement: 138 cu. in./2265cc

Bore: 4.00", Stroke: 2.75"

Donated by Robert and Peter Grunstra

A small sample of Phil's fine engines. See his page for more.

Ten Model Engines by Phillip Duclos

Phil Duclos passed away in 1994, but not before leaving behind a huge legacy in published magazine articles featuring plans and instructions so that others could build the engines he came up with. Village Press even published a collection of his works entitled The Shop Wisdom of Phillip Duclos. It is still a good seller today in its 5th printing. These engines exhibit the finest craftsmanship and will be described in more detail on his page. His niece was kind enough to donate 10 of his remaining 11 engines to the museum.

Miniature Arms collection (Temporary Exhibit)

On loan from the Miniature Arms Society are miniature guns and knives by some of the world's finest miniature arms makers. See a special page on this collection. CLICK HERE or on any of the photos at the left.

(Center) Earl Wolf demonstrates the Do Nothing machine at an outdoor show in Congress, Arizona in 2006. Watching the complicated movements of this machine can by mezmerizing.

The famous "Do Nothing Machine (Permanent Exhibit)

Begun in the late 1940's by Lawrence Wahlstrom, this fanciful machine eventually included over 745 gears and mechanisms all moving at once to produce...nothing. Even so, people find it fascinating to watch. Variously called a "Flying Saucer Detector" or a "Smog Eliminator" by its inventor, it achieved a level of fame in the 1950's being seen in magazines like Life, Popular Mechanics and Mechanix Illustrated. It was also featured on TV including shows hosted by Garry Moore, Art Linkletter and Bob Hope. After the inventor passed away, the machine was picked up at Auction by Earl Wolf who maintained and displayed the machine at shows after 2003. The late Mr. Wolf's family has now donated the Do Nothing machine in his honor to the museum where it can now be seen in action in our museum machine shop.

Aluminum P-51 Mustang and two F4U Corsair models (Permanent Exhibit)

Scale: 1/16, Built and donated by Young C. Park

Young C. Park dedicated 10 years to the making of these three incredible models. The P-51 and one of the Corsairs are half cut-away models, meaning you can see all the detail inside the plane. The second Corsair is shown disassembled into four major parts as it was built in the factory. The models are completely hand fabricated from aluminum and brass and are detailed down to the hydraulic lines and functional control cables to the rudder, elevator and ailerons. The P-51 even has .50 Caliber ammunition fed from the ammo boxes into the 3 machine guns in the left wing. There are over 10,000 aluminum rivets used in the P-51 alone.

These aircraft our the stars of the museum's collection, and it is unlikely you will ever see better models on display in any museum in the world. (Note that the first (cutaway) corsair is on display at the San Diego Air & Space Museum from April 1, 2010 to April 1, 2011.)

Young C. Park is the winner of the Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year Award for 2002.

Dollhouse Miniature Room Collection (Permanent Rotating Exhibit)

See the page on Dollhouse Miniatures for photos of our collection of dollhouses and dollhouse miniature furniture on loan from the San Diego Miniature Craftrers club. The members rotate different miniatures they have made through the exhibit, so if you come to the museum you may see different ones than are shown here. See also the separate section on Jan Haring for a look at the houses she and her husband Joe built over the years. Also, 2015 Craftsman of the Year Bill Robertson is featured as a builder of miniature items for dollhouses.

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Engines—Steam, Stirling and Internal Combustion

Original Design Radial Engine

Designed & Built by George Britnell

Loosely based on the commercially available Morton M-5, George’s radial engine design has a bore and stroke of .625 x .600. Designed and built in 2012, it took about 600 hours to complete. It has a two stage oil pump for supply and scavenge. The original design of the Morton had pushrods at the rear of the cylinders operated by a conventional camshaft. George’s design moved the cam to the front of the engine more like a conventional radial engine. The distributor was redesigned to make it vertical with a Hall trigger ignition. The cylinders and heads are separate pieces that are screwed together unlike the Morton which has a one-piece sleeved cylinder and head. George made his own 10-40 thread spark plugs and fuel is delivered using a model airplane type air-bleed carburetor. You can read more about George Britnell here.
Donated by George Britnell


Steam and Internal Combustion Engines

Built by Russell Anderson

Here are a few of Russell's engines on display at the museum.

At an early age Russell showed his talent for tinkering with all things mechanical. Born in 1930 on a farm in North Dakota he was already fixing tractors and other farm equipment by age nine and built his first motorcycle from parts found in apple crates at the age of ten.

After serving as a radio operator in the Korean War Russell moved to California where he worked on cars in his uncle’s gas station and later on airplanes for North American. He ended up working on radar systems at LAX for 30 years until he retired in 1986.

His real passion however was building scale models of old engines and other machines that he had worked on when he was growing up on the farm. He particularly liked building engines that had external moving parts that you could see in action.

Russell started with just a metal lathe and drill press in a small makeshift shop until he built his dream shop in 1980. Over the course of more than four decades he spent thousands of hours building model steam and internal combustion engines and didn’t consider a model complete until it ran. The engine he most enjoyed building was a 1/3 scale Galloway that was an exact replica of an engine that his grandfather used on the farm.

Courtesy Steve Anderson

Donated by Fred Leonard

Stationary Steam Engine

Built by Thomas Walton

This model, built around 1890 by the Great Grandfather of Fred Leonard, captures the likes of the steam engines that were used at the mines in England in the late 1800’s. Born in the town of Bishop Auckland, Thomas moved to the town of Brotton, about 50 miles southeast of his birthplace, where he worked as a Colliery Engineer (someone who built and maintained mining machinery.)

Steam engines were used at the mines to power pumps, air compressors, hoists, and ore crushers. Thomas built this working model as a replica of the engines used at the mines. Each piece was built from scratch, down to the smallest nut and bolt. Between 1893 and 1905 he entered the model in several events winning numerous awards including Best Working Model of an Engine. This model has survived several generations, a long boat trip across the Atlantic, and numerous moves across North America.


Courtesy of Don Rutherford


3/4" scale live steam 4-6-4 locomotive

Built by Robert Earl "Toby" Rutherford

   Toby Rutherford was an experimental electronics engineer and a pioneer of television, being instrumental in its invention. He was also a highly proficient scientific glass blower, metallurgist and master machinist as well as an electronic genius. His shop included a blast furnace, metal lathe, milling machine and just about every other power and hand tool imaginable, but model making was his hobby, solace and relaxation.

Toby built this coal burning steam engine from scratch using plans by Martin S. Lewis of "Little Engines" in Lomita, CA. He built the project between 1934 and 1973, hence the engine number 3473. He operated the 4-6-4 locomotive on the high track of the Long Island  Live Steamers Club in South Haven Park, New York for years. It included a non-scale tender on which the engineer rode, pulling a string of cars with other riders; however, Toby never got around to making a scale tender.

The engine measures about 45-1/2" long and stands 12" above the rails, which are 3-5/8" apart. The drivers measure 5" in diameter, so they would have stood about 6'-8" tall on the real engine.


Donated by Joe "Speedy" Sciarratta


Double Compound Elbow Engine

Designed and built by Joe "Speedy" Sciarratta

Plans for this engine have been around a while, and it is a fun one to watch in motion, but Joe Sciarratta took the basic plans one step further in this version. The basic engine has only 5 moving parts. Three pairs of pistons (each pair 90° between the two) move in a holes in a round valve cylinder to drive the flywheel. As each piston goes up and down in the valve cylinder it moves in and out in the flywheel. With this particular engine, the exhaust from the first engine drives the second valve cylinder in the opposite direction to run the other flywheel at a slower speed when air pressure is supplied to the first engine.

Donated by Les Cade


2 HP Root & Vandervoort Hit N' Miss engine (full size)

Restored by Bill Fowler

Serial No.: BL1337

RPM: 450

Built in about 1906, this engine is typical of the farm workhorse engines used in the early part of the 20th century. It is a full size engine, not a model. The tag notes it was manufactured for the W.M. Gregory company in Los Angeles by Root & Vandervoort Engineering Co. of East Moline, Illinois. Electrical power for the ignition comes from a battery in a separate wooden box, and a wheeled stand was made for it to make it easy to move around.

Hit and Miss engines are so named because they do not necessarily fire on every stroke. A regulator usually uses centrifugal force to determine speed of the flywheel. Once it is spinning at greater than a given speed, the spark is cut off, causing the flywheel to slow down. Once it slows enough, the spark is restored, causing another ignition. When a load is put on the engine, it fires more often until, with enough load, it is firing on every stroke.

These engines would typically use a belt drive to turn a pump to pump water or do other work. This engine at only 2 HP is quite small as these engines go. It is started by turning the large flywheel by means of a handle that folds out from the side of one of the flywheels.

Donated by Paul Elsmore

Red Wing Air Cooled 1/3 scale "Thorobred" Hit N' Miss Engine

Built by Paul Elsmore

The casting set and plans for this engine can be obtained from PM Research in Wellsville, NY. and other sources. PM Research recently purchased Red Wing Motor Company from its former owner and now continues to supply several of their casting kits as well as completed engines. Inspired by the original 2.5 HP Red Wing engine, the model is made from good quality castings that replicate the originals in 1/3 scale. It has a bore of 1.5" and a stroke of 2". It runs on regular gasoline and uses a buzz coil as an ignition source. Paul found a wooden box lid with finger-jointed corners that made a very attractive stand for the motor and hides ignition components underneath. The 4th photo shows the speed regulator mechanism in the middle of the left-hand flywheel. It took Paul approximately 1000 hours over a period of 1 year and 8 months to build the engine. The engine was test run before painting and ran well.

The following historical information on the original Red Wing Motor Company was provide by Gary Bastain at PM Research:

"The Red Wing Motor Company was founded in 1902 and operated until 1979. Primarily they manufactured marine engines. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1903-1905 they made a total of two water cooled engines. Those were the only two ever recorded in the serial number log as serial number 125 and 126. To the best of our knowledge the air cooled engine was advertised but never built. The practice in that day was to advertise, and if someone placed an order, then the engine would be built. There is no evidence that the original air cooled engine was ever built."

 Donated by Les Cade

Watch a WMV video (1.9 MB)

Watch a WMV video (11.7 MB)

Watch an MPEG1 video (14.4 MB)

Watch it on YouTube.com


Rider-Ericsson Hot Air Pump Engine

Built by Bill Fowler

This 1/4 scale hot air engine is made from a set of castings and is expertly machined and painted. It was completed in 1982 and is one of two made by Mr. Fowler. The pin stripe job was done by "Shaky Jake," a legendary Southern California hotrod pin stripe artist. Les Cade built the clear acrylic water receptacle so the pumping action can be seen. Heat is provided to the 2" bore engine by a propane flame, and after a few minutes of warm-up, the engine runs about 1500 RPM in almost total silence. Developed in the 1800's, engines of this type were known to pump more water to higher elevations per amount of fuel used than any other type of powered pump in that era.

A casting kit to build this 2" bore engine (or the 1" and 3" bore versions) can be found at Myers Engine Works: http://www.myersengines.com/engines/pumping_engine_1-b.htm.

Donated by Les Cade



Prototype Solar "Flame Eater" Vacuum Engine

Made by M.G. "Woody" Woods, circa 1986. #5 of 12 hand built

PM Research now sells a reproduction of this particular design called a Solar #3 engine, but this is one of the few originals by engine builder Woody Woods. According to the www.stirlingengines.org.uk web page, a vacuum engine works as follows: "These engines work by drawing hot gasses or a flame into a cylinder to be cooled. Admission of the hot flame into the cylinder is controlled by a valve. There is a power stroke every revolution. On the outward stroke of the piston, the valve is open, and the flame is so drawn in to the cylinder. Just before the top of the stroke the valve is closed and the resulting drop in pressure draws back the piston, for the power stroke. One problem to be found running these engines is that of back-pressure at the end of the power stroke. The valve needs to be so constructed that it can lift and release any back-pressure.

There have been a number of small power engines built, notably in Britain, but the vast amount of vacuum engines sold commercially have been as toys or models."

Moving the flame closer to or farther from the valve opening adjusts the speed of the engine.

A reproduction similar to this engine is available as "Solar #3" from PM Research at www.pmresearchinc.com.

NOTE: If you like steam and Stirling engines, don't miss the page on Rudy Kouhoupt on this site.

Donated by Les Cade


"High School" Engine—1-Cylinder Gas Engine

Built by a high school manual arts class, Canada

In the 1930's in Canada, this engine was reputedly built by manual arts students as a class project. Twenty-two engines were built by the class using castings they made from their own patterns. They also did all the mechanical drawings and the machining on the various parts. At the end of the class some of the engines were entered in the local fair and then sold. Unfortunately, the names of the teacher and student builders did not get passed along when the engine was purchased.

The engine features a battery box with two "D" cell batteries and a coil to provide ignition. The rocker arms are cast, and a sophisticated internal governor is used to regulate the speed. The engine starts easily and is a very good runner.

Donated by Les Cade


"Little Brother" Hit-N-Miss Engine

Built by Mr. Hallock

A hit-and-miss engine is a type of four-stroke internal combustion engine that was conceived in the late 19th century and was produced by various companies from the 1890's through approximately the 1930's. The name comes from the method of speed control that is implemented on these engines (as opposed to the "throttle governed" method of speed control). The sound made when the engine is running is a distinctive "POP whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh POP" as the engine fires and then coasts until the speed decreases and needs to fire again to maintain its average speed.

Hit-and-miss engines were made by a multitude of engine manufacturers during their peak usage which was from approximately 1910 through the early 1930's when they began to be replaced by more modern designs. Some of the largest engine manufacturers were Hercules, International Harvester (McCormick Deering), John Deere and Fairbanks Morse.

This particular engine features a governor in the center of one of the flywheels and spark is provided by a Model T Ford ignition coil.

Unfortunately, nothing is known about the builder, Mr. Hallock.

Donated by Les Cade


"Hired Man" Hit-N-Miss Engine

Built by Mr. Hallock

This engine is similar to the "Little Brother" engine shown above. It features a governor in the center of one of the flywheels and spark is provided by a Model T Ford ignition coil hidden in the wooden base.

Donated by Les Cade


1-Cylinder Horizontal Gas Engine

Built by Mr. Hallock

This particular engine is ungoverned and features a chain driven water pump, model airplane carburetor and twin cams driving mechanical intake and exhaust.

Donated by Les Cade     2011.4.6

"Little Brother" Hit-N-Miss Engine

Built by Mr. Hallock

Mr. Hallock was obviously fond of the various versions of the "Little Brother" engine. Several other versions can be seen above. This particular water cooled engine features a governor in the center of one of the flywheels and spark is provided by a Model T Ford ignition coil hidden under the wood base.

Donated by Les Cade     2011.4.7

1-Cylinder Marine Gas Engine

Built by Bill Fowler

This particular water cooled engine features an Amal motorcycle carburetor. A small coil is mounted to the side of the engine base.

Donated by Les Cade


Horizontal Steam Engine with Generator

Built by Les Cade

This single-cylinder, reversing steam engine was built from bar stock using Sherline miniature machine tools. It was scaled up to two times size from the plans of a smaller engine that Les had built previously that was a particularly good runner. A small generator rated at 4 volts/1 amp at 3000 RPM is powered by a belt drive off the steam engine's flywheel. When in operation the generator lights a small streetlamp on a post.

Donated by Les Cade


Oscillating Steam Engine

Built by Les Cade

This double-acting, reversible V-twin steam engine was machined from bar stock using Sherline miniature machine tools. An oscillating cylinder steam engine is a simple arrangement that does not require valves to direct steam into and out of the cylinder. Instead of valves, the entire cylinder rocks, or oscillates, such that one or more holes in the cylinder line up with holes in a fixed port face or in the pivot mounting (trunnion).

Oscillating cylinder steam engines are mainly used in toys and models but have been used in full-size working engines, mainly on ships and small stationary engines. They have the advantage of simplicity and, therefore, low manufacturing costs. They also tend to be more compact than other types of cylinder of the same size, which makes them advantageous for use in ships. In full-size engines, the steam and exhaust ports are usually built into the pivot (trunnion) mounting.

Donated by Les Cade


Horizontal Steam Engine

Built by Les Cade

This reversing steam engine was built using Sherline miniature machine tools. It features a 2" diameter solid steel flywheel. It turned out to be such a good running engine that Les built a larger version of it by scaling up the plans. (See the engine that runs the green generator.) This illustrates that dimensions on plans can be scaled to suit the space or equipment you have in your shop or your budget for raw materials.

Donated by Les Cade


Horizontal Steam Engine

Built by Les Cade

This reversing steam engine was built using Sherline miniature machine tools. It features a 2" diameter solid steel flywheel. It turned out to be such a good running engine that Les built a larger version of it by scaling up the plans. (See the engine that runs the green generator.) This illustrates that dimensions on plans can be scaled to suit the space or equipment you have in your shop or your budget for raw materials.

Donated by Les Cade


Vertical 2-Cylinder Oscillating Steam Engine

Built by Les Cade

Built from what appears to be an aluminum casting kit fro PM Research, Inc., this oscillating steam engine is a good starting point for many beginning machinists. The 2-1/4" flywheel can be machined on a Sherline miniature lathe with the use of a headstock riser block kit.

An oscillating cylinder steam engine is a simple arrangement that does not require valves to direct steam into and out of the cylinder. Instead of valves, the entire cylinder rocks, or oscillates, such that one or more holes in the cylinder line up with holes in a fixed port face or in the pivot mounting (trunnion).

Donated by Les Cade


"Silver Dollar" Oscillating Steam Engine

Built by a machine shop owner in Huntington Beach

An oscillating cylinder steam engine is a simple arrangement that does not require valves to direct steam into and out of the cylinder. Instead of valves, the entire cylinder rocks, or oscillates, such that one or more holes in the cylinder line up with holes in a fixed port face or in the pivot mounting (trunnion).

This engine is unusual in that the flywheel is made from a bicentenial Eisenhower silver dollar. As Les notes, "With this engine you will never be broke!" The engine sits atop its own copper boiler, which is filled with water by unscrewing the cap the engine is fastened to. A wooden handle allows the engineer to hold the copper tank over a stove or flame to boil the water to make the steam to run it.

Donated by Les Cade


"Flame Licker" Engine

Built by a machine shop owner in Huntington Beach (name unknown)

These engines are variously called "vacuum," "flame-licker" or "flame-gulper" engines and work by drawing hot gasses or a flame into a cylinder to be cooled. Admission of the hot flame into the cylinder is controlled by a valve. There is a power stroke every revolution. On the outward stroke of the piston, the valve is open, and the flame is drawn in to the cylinder. Just before the top of the stroke the valve is closed and the resulting drop in pressure draws back the piston for the power stroke. Placement of the flame in relation to the valve opening is critical for proper operation.

Donated by Les Cade


ECO Sterling Engine

Manufacured by ECO Model Engines, Canada, Circa 1960

Originally conceived in 1816 as an industrial engine to rival the steam engine, the Stirling engine is noted for its high efficiency compared to steam engines, quiet operation and the ease with which it can use almost any heat source. Like steam and flame licker engines it is an external combustion engine in that heat is applied to one end of the cylinder from an outside source. Speed is related to the difference in temperature from one end of the cylinder to the other. A loose fitting displacer piston shunts the air between the hot and cold ends of the cylinder. A power piston at the end of the cylinder drives the flywheel. Highly efficient modern Stirling engines are being looked at by the power industry as a renewable way to generate electricity by using the reflected heat of the sun as a heat source.

Unfortunately, the ECO Company is no longer in business.

Donated by Les Cade


Cretors No. 1 Popcorn Machine Steam Engine

Built by C. Cretors & Co., Chicago

The Cretors Company in Chicago invented the use of steam engines to pop popcorn and roast nuts in horse drawn vending wagons in the 1890's. This particular engine was originally installed in a horse-drawn #1 Popcorn Wagon built by Cretors. It was delivered to a Mr. Joseph Smith in Modesto, CA on March 14, 1913 and is serial number 8130. The Cretors Company is still in existance and their records were able to provide the above information.

This double acting, horizontal steam engine with flyball governor is a masterpiece of sturdy, simple engineering. The Number 1 engine has a Bore of 1-1/2", a Stroke of 3" and a Flywheel diameter of 8". These rare engines are highly sought after among steam engine collectors.

Donated by Les Cade


1-Cylinder Vertical Oscillating Steam Engine

Built by Les Cade

This engine was built from a bronze casting kit using Sherline miniature machine tools. An oscillating cylinder steam engine is a simple arrangement that does not require valves to direct steam into and out of the cylinder. Instead of valves, the entire cylinder rocks, or oscillates, such that one or more holes in the cylinder line up with holes in a fixed port face or in the pivot mounting (trunnion). Engines of this type with one or more cylinders were often used in early marine applications.

Donated by Les Cade


Air Cooled 1-cylinder Horizontal Gas Engine

Designed and built by Mr. Hallock

This single cylinder, air cooled engine has a brass sleeved cast iron 6-spoke flywheel. It was designed and built by a Mr. Hallock. Unfortunately, we have no history on him that we can pass along.



Donated by Joe Kunkler, Vista, CA

Restored by Tom Boyer


"Mystery" Steam Engine Number 1—1-Cylinder Horizontal

Builder Unknown

This and the following intricate and interesting engines represent somewhat of a mystery while demonstrating exactly the situation the Joe Martin Foundation is trying to avoid. These engines were given to Joe Kunkler in a box of items that failed to sell at an estate sale. No data about the builder was provided with the engines, so we may never know who built them.

The first engine is a horizontal steam engine with an overdriven geared flywheel. Originally covered, after restoration we decided to expose the flywheel so observers could see how it works. The engine is reversible by means of a lever. The original very crude castings were a puzzling contrast to the skill with which many of the other parts were made. The Foundation's shop craftsman Tom Boyer did a lot of work re-machining and sandblasting the basic castings to do justice to the rest of the engine. A new oak base was also constructed. If you know anything about the history of this engine, please let us know.



Donated by Joe Kunkler, Vista, CA

Restored by Tom Boyer


"Mystery" Steam Engine Number 2—2-Cylinder Horizontal

Builder Unknown

Obtained at the same time and place as the engine above, this twin flywheel engine is also interesting in its construction, featuring a complicated regulator mechanism within the flywheel and rotary valves. What appears to be an oil filter resides at the rear between the flywheels. The engine is reversible by means of a lever mechanism. It appears to be made from a combination of home-made castings, commercial valve castings and finely machined bar stock parts An odd combination; however, the engine is very sophisticated in function for its small size and runs extremely well. Somebody knew what they were doing when the built it. Both engines appear to have been built by the same person. If you know anything about the history of this engine, please let us know.

Donated by Les Cade


Solar No. 4 "Sun Runner" Stirling Cycle Engine

The parabolic mirror reflector focuses sunlight on the heat cap, providing the energy to run this commercially built engine. The motor itself is 8.24" long by 3" wide and has a 3/4" bore and 3-1/4" flywheel. The polished aluminum mirror is 18" in diameter. The engine can run at speeds of 2000 RPM or more. It has its own cast base or the motor itself can be attached directly to a camera tripod to make it easier to adjust the focus of the sun's rays.

The engine can also use an alcohol burner as a heat source and is available from PM Research in Wellsville, NY. See their web site at www.pmmodelengines.com/

Courtesy of Joe Martin

A US quarter is used for size reference.


Solar Engines Stirling Cycle Engine—1817-1977

Solar Engines, Phoenix, AZ (now sold by PM Research, Wellsville, NY)

Stirling engines were invented in the 1800's but are still being looked at today as potential sources of green energy. Requiring only a different temperature on either side of the displacer, they can run on as little as the heat from a cup of coffee or even the warmth of your hand in a cold room. Though not producing a lot of torque, in places where geothermal heat, solar heat from a parabolic mirror, heat from burning sawdust or natural gas or other source is available, they can run without any other fuel source. They have been used for everything from running a room fan from the heat of a candle flame, powering generators or pumps in the field from the heat of burning gas or other fuel to more modern applications as new lightweight materials and other advances keep the interest of scientists.

Power for a Stirling engine is provided by the movement of air from one side of a displacer piston to the other as the air is heated on one side of the piston and cooled on the other.

Accompanying this engine was an instruction manual and a book on Stirling engines by Andy Ross that explains how the Stirling Cycle Engine works.

For more see www.pmresearchinc.com where this engine is available as "Solar #1."

Built by and on loan courtesy of Jeff Lott


Steve Huck V8 Engine
Built by Jeff Lott - See it running

Jeff is a retired mechanic who always wanted to be a machinist. He first became interested in machining in high school. He used a small bench mill and lathe with digital readouts to build the Steve Huck 25cc V8 engine following the build order Steve laid out in his plans.

The engine was scratch built from billet material taking 2 years to complete. The block and heads are made from 6061T6 aluminum. 1144 steel was used for the crankshaft, 2024 aluminum for the pistons, and cast iron for the piston rings. Brass was used for the lifter bushings and valve seats and bronze for the main bearings. The crank shaft was one of the hardest parts to make taking 5 tries to get one he was satisfied with. Jeff also had trouble with the blower rotors finding a way to hold them so they would survive the machining process. At the time it was completed in 2014 it was one of only six running examples to have been completed.

Build by and on loan courtesy of Pamela Weiss

Offenhauser 270 4-Cylinder Racing Engine in progress

Scale: 1:4, Designed by Ron Colonna

This engine is well along with most of the machining on the block and head completed as well as are the pistons, rods, sleeves, cam drive gears, camshafts and piston rings. Unlike the original Offy, which did not have a separate head, the miniature version is made in two parts because of the difficulty in machining the valve seats in such a confined space.

Build by and on loan courtesy of Pamela Weiss

Snow Horizontal Engine in progress

From plans in The Home Shop Machinist Magazine

This unique internal combustion engine has a combustion chamber at each end that houses a single cylinder that moves back and forth with spark plugs at each end, so it fires on both ends of the stroke.  A single rod is connected to both pistons and drives the large flywheel. The original full-size engines were used in the natural gas fields to drive compressors to compress the natural gas and they were also powered by the same natural gas. Only two of the restored originals still exist in museums. The engine needs only ignition and a cooling tower to be completed.

Built and donated by Paul White

Model Turbine Jet Engine

The late Paul White was a race car and experimental aircraft sheet metal fabricator as well as a prolific modeler. He built IndyCars, worked for Dan Gurney's All American Racers on the Formula 1 car in the 1960's and fabricated parts for Rare Bear and other winning air race aircraft as well as making scale flying model airplanes from the usual materials plus aluminum and carbon fiber. He scratch built this running jet engine in about one month without the use of CNC machining just to see if he could get a jet engine to run. It did. He even built a scale looking engine stand for it.

Donated by numerous individuals

Model airplane engines by commercial manufacturers

A growing collection of model airplane, car and boat engines made by the early originators of the hobby can be viewed at the museum. This includes engines by Ohlsson & Rice, K&B, Clarence Lee, Super Tigre, O.S., Arden and Cox to name a few. Some of these date back before the advent of radio control. Included are gas glow and spark engines as well as CO2 engines.

Details about these and other engines can be found on the page dedicated to the early innovators in model flying on this web site. In addition to the most famous innovators, we also have a number of model engines on hand from other manufacturers. Companies like  Orwick, MVVS, OK (Herkimer), NovoExport, Telco and Thunderhead are represented here.

Custom Twin Cylinder Engines

Built by Richard Hoff

These are examples of some of Richards custom two cylinder engines. He made these by combining two single cylinder off-the-shelf engines to create a horizontally apposed twin cylinder engine. He did this with numerous engine types, designing and machining all of the necessary parts himself in order to mate two engines together. The two engine types on display are Webra 10 and OS-MAX. Richard was a lifetime machinist owning his own company building unique projects for the aerospace community. Once retired, he began building mechanical models of all kinds. 2019.34

Donated by Richard Hoff

Donated by Joe Martin


Varo Amp-Champ 12 VDC Field Generator

The Varo Amp-Champ was powered by an Ohlson & Rice 2-cycle, single cylinder model airplane engine (Type 122) that was rated at 3/4 HP at 6300 RPM. It ran on 70-80 octane pump gas mixed with oil at a 24:1 ratio. Joe Martin donated this engine, which was used in the field for starting model airplanes in place of a battery. We are also told that they were used during WWII and the Korean war as portable auxiliary power generators to run field radios for communication on the battlefield. Lighter than a large 12 Volt battery, they would also produce power as long as you had a source of gasoline for fuel.

This is a good example of turning lemons into lemonade when the wartime market reduces demand for a hobby product like a model airplane engine.  In typical government fashion, complete instructions for starting and running are printed on a decal on the engine so any soldier could get it running. Plug gap, points gap and magneto gap were all right there as were mixture and starting procedures. Although O&R engines were no doubt chosen for their famous reliability, it was noted in the instructions, “Clean cylinder exhaust ports when engine loses power.”

See More on Irv Ohlsson in the model engine manufacturers section.

Donated by Joe Martin



The Marilyn Monroe Engine

We call this the "Marilyn Monroe Engine," because along with the engine we received a photo of a young Marilyn Monroe (then named Norma Jean Dougherty) in the McCulloch factory posing with the same engine on the production line. One of the first jobs she got when she moved to California to seek fame and fortune was working at McCulloch. It is said that these publicity photos attracted attention in Hollywood and led to her introduction to motion picture fame. The photo is displayed with the engine.

McCulloch 2-Cylinder Opposed Drone Engine

McCulloch Motors Corporation of Los Angeles, California has built a wide variety of gasoline-engine powered products, including chainsaws, helicopters, gyroplanes and engines for radio-controlled target drones. Their first aircraft product apparently was the production from 1943, under US Government contracts, of Righter-designed two-stroke cycle engines for WWII target drones. Later, McCulloch built many two-stroke engines of their own design for various manned and unmanned aircraft applications. This engine has been expertly restored to original specifications.

In response to the U.S. Army Air Forces’ requirement for fast aerial targets with which to train anti-aircraft gunners, Radioplane (a division of Northrop Aircraft Co.) developed a 200 mph class airplane in 1945. It was first flight tested in 1946 and was capable of catapult launches, rotary launches from a circular runway, and air launches from a B-26C. When hit or out of fuel, the target was recovered under a 32-foot diameter parachute. The OQ-3 drone was built in several variants using this two-cylinder engine. Four-cylinder versions came later which provided speeds over 300 MPH.

The drone system was developed primarily by movie actor and inventor Reginald Denny (1891-1967) and Walter H. Righter (1905 - 1982). Four men were needed to launch this target, whether by catapult or by the rotary method. A fifth man flew the target from the ground or from another aircraft. At a range of 200 yards, the drone appeared to gunners like a single-engine fighter at 500 yards.


Fairbanks Morse Hit-n-Miss Engine

This large model of a water cooled, single cylinder hit-n-miss engine was built by Jack Randall. This model features an unusual radiator that pumps water through a pipe at the top. The hot water flows from holes in the pipe and trickles down angled screens on either side as cool air flows through it, cooling the water. It is then caught in a basin and pumped back through the engine to cool it. Hit-and-miss engines were made by a multitude of engine manufacturers during their peak usage which was from approximately 1910 through the early 1930s when they began to be replaced by more modern designs. Some of the largest engine manufacturers were Stover, Hercules, International Harvester (McCormick Deering), John Deere and Fairbanks Morse.


2-cylinder reversible marine steam engine

Built from a casting kit by Jack Randall, this engine is capable of running in either direction. It is of the type that might be found on a small steam launch


Pulse Jet engine

This engine was custom built by Robert "Larry" DeCou in his spare time while working as a machinist in the sheet metal and welding shops at Rohr Aircraft in Riverside, CA. He started with a number of aluminum parts, but they were not able to withstand the heat of engine operation and were eventually replaced by stainless steel parts. (The spark plug, for example, still has electrodes that are almost burned off.) The nozzle at the air intake was purchased from DynaJet and has interchangeable size tips. The engine is about 21-1/2" long overall.

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Model Airplanes, Ships and Vehicles

Mean Streak

Built by Phil Bernhardt

Phil’s Mean Streak was modeled after the Strato Streak, one of several small free flight gas models designed by Hungarian immigrant Louis Garami in the late '30s/early '40s. Garami favored small models because they were inexpensive to build and were easy to transport to and from the flying field.

This radio control version was built by Phil in 1986 and is fitted with a hot Cox .09 engine running on a pressurized fuel system. The model is scaled up 8% from the Garami’s original 40" span. The covering on the wing and tail is MonoKote. The fuselage and all fins are covered with colored silk and clear dope followed by a coat of clear K&B Superpoxy for fuel-proofing. The graphics on the wing and tail were spray painted directly on the bare wood before covering and the checkerboard pattern and lettering on the fuselage were cut from Japanese tissue and doped in place. 2020.1.1

John Ackerman Fire Apparatus

Courtesy of the John Ackerman Collection

John has been building / collecting miniature fire apparatus since he was 6 years old. His exhibit documents his progression as a model builder from his earliest works through some of his most recent projects. Visit John's Fire Apparatus page for the whole story and more pictures. 2019.32

Fire Engines by Tom Showers

The late Tom Showers was a prolific builder of model fire engines and an apparatus historian. Many of his over 450 models are on display in fire museums like the one in Los Angeles. We are privileged to have on display some of his models from the collection of model builder and fire apparatus historian John Ackerman. Tom Showers served as John's mentor in model making.


1900 LaFrance Searchlight engine #1

1/32 scale

Courtesy of the John Ackerman Collection

This New York Fire Department horse drawn engine is based on a 4th size steamer with Bullock marine type 5 Kw generator. It has two de-mountable searchlights of 9000 candlepower each. (The term “4th size” refers to a particular category of pump engine and is not a reference to scale.)


1915 Robinson

1/32 scale

Donated by John Ackerman, 12/30/13

Tom built this model in 1951. It is one of his earlier models built from basswood. In fact, the number “20” on the door indicates that it is his 20th model. It represents a machine from the Marion, OH fire department.


1932 Seagraves Rescue Car

1/32 scale

Courtesy of the John Ackerman Collection

Featuring ladders and four powerful searchlights, this emergency vehicle was tasked with rescue rather than strictly firefighting duties. It carries the SFD livery of the Sacramento Fire Department.


1934 Ahrens-Fox Model VLU 42

1/32 scale

Courtesy of the John Ackerman Collection

A standard line quad in an unusual black color, this truck is one used by the Sacramento Fire Department in California.


1937 Mack Type 21

1/32 scale

Courtesy of the John Ackerman Collection

A New York Fire Department classic in bright red. Although there is much speculation about the reason red became the most popular color for fire trucks, more than likely it was just because people have always associated red with fire. There are certainly many other colors in use around the country and around the world including black, gray, lime yellow, bright yellow, white, green and even purple!


1955 "Magirus" 30-meter Aerial Ladder Truck (Germany)

1/32 scale

Courtesy of the John Ackerman Collection

This German hybrid was built on a British “Bedford” chassis and used by a fire company in Denmark. The aerial ladder on the model actually rotates and extends using a special tool to turn the cable drum. To stabilize the vehicle while the ladder is extended, jacks are pulled out from the sides of the chassis.


1973 Howe/Hendrickson Manifold Wagon

1/32 scale

Donated by John Ackerman, 12/30/13

Builder Tom Showers painted a number of his trucks in the colors of an imaginary town called Luna Beach. Bright yellow colors like this model were once thought to be more visible to other drivers than the traditional red color, but accident statistics involving fire vehicle collisions fail to back that up. Originally even red trucks were a much darker shade of red than the brighter red popular with many departments today.


1964 Morita-Isuzu Hose Tender (Japan)

1/32 scale

Courtesy of the John Ackerman Collection

This model was built using the molded plastic front end from a 1960's Japanese kit but from the cab back it was all scratch built from basswood. Details like siren, bell, emergency lights, loudspeaker, mirrors, controls, ladders and such are all scratch built as well. This engine includes two hose carts that are unloaded from the engine and then are hand pulled by the firemen as the hose is played out at the fire. One cart rides inside the back of the truck and the other rides on top of a platform in the back. A small ramp allows the carts to be rolled out of the truck. A handle at the front of the truck swings up for two firemen to pull it.

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More Fire Equipment

(Above) Cart and pump in travel position

Pump unit only and pump unloaded from cart.


1880 Dutch Fire Pump

Built and donated by Merl Thurman, Livingston, TX

This is a 1/8 scale model of a pump built by H. Belder, a fire engine manufacturer in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The horse cart was built by C. H. Broekman in Amsterdam. The pumps were used as a combination of extinguisher and supercharger.  In 1880 the town of Wassenaar purchased two of these hand pumps, the last hand pumps they purchased.

The pumps were drawn by horse to the fire. There the pump was offloaded by tilting the cart and sliding it off the back. Two pumps/carts were required. One was stationed at the water source and pumped water into a holding tank on the second unit. From there, the second pump was used to pump water from the tank onto the fire. They were capable of pumping 200 gallons per minute. Each cart had a 6-man crew.

This model was scratch built in 1/8 scale from plans drawn by Frans Zwartjes with information from Fire Brigade Chief J.A. Jansen. It took approximately 700 hour to complete.

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Ship Models


USS Pennsylvania
Built by Robert Wood

Robert was unable to complete this model but his skill and attention to detail can clearly be seen in this masterful work of art. The USS Pennsylvania was designed by Samuel Humphreys and built at the Philadelphia Naval Yard in 1837. Around 1977 Robert started in earnest his quest to build his model of the USS Pennsylvania. After a number of months of correspondence with the Smithsonian Institution and the Franklin Institute he finally succeeded in obtaining copies of the plans from the National Archives which he then began the task of scaling to 1/8th scale.

Robert’s passion for model ship building began in 1939 while living in Philadelphia shortly before beginning his military career in the Marine Corps from 1939 to 1951.

One of his first models was of the Flying Cloud that he built while in the Marine Corps. By 1950 he’d built a replica of Joshua Slocum’s Spray. In the mid-1960s he built a replica of an 18th century ropewalk in order to manufacture his own ship rigging rope. Passing in 1990, Robert is remembered for never being without a model in progress.

USS Pennsylvania Specifications
Started c1978 – unfinished
Rib and plank construction
Open hull one side
43” stem to stern
32” keel to top of main mast.                                                                   2018.20.1


Sovereign of the Seas
Built by Robert Wood

The Sovereign of the Seas, also called the Royal Sovereign, is the fifth ship model built by Robert. The Sovereign is an English Naval warship built by Peter Pelt at the Chatham Dockyards in England for King Charles I. It was launched in 1637, saw three battles, and burned to the waterline in 1697.

Completed in 1965, the Sovereign model is a solid hull, scratch-built ship. With the exception of a few metal fittings and the cannons, everything else is hand made by Robert. The Sovereign is an especially complex model with yards of hand crafted rigging and intricate carvings decorating the ship. This was the first ship for which Robert built an 18th century ropewalk in order to manufacture rigging rope. He spent many hours hand-twisting various sizes of rigging and formed the decorations by carving individual molds in plaster in order to make the castings of wood paste.

Sovereign of the Seas Specifications
Finished c1965
Solid hull construction
35” stem to stern
26½” keel to top of main mast

27" Charles Morgan    51" Charles Margan

Charles W. Morgan
Built by Bob Learman

A retired Navy Chief, Bob was building models since he was 9 years old. During his Navy career he built full scale model railroads, ships, and airplanes. Most were left with friends and relatives when he would move on to a new duty station.

Bob’s pride and joy are the two Charles W. Morgan ships that he started working on after he retired in 1971. He built a regular 27-inch kit model first then doubled the size of the plans for the large 51-inch scratch built model. The scale of the large ship is 5/16 inch to one foot with virtually every part hand made to match the real ship.
Courtesy Deborah Pinkerton & Kim Learman                                      2019.29, 30


Donated by Dandelyn O'Conner


Nordkap—A 1/50th scale Greenland Trawler

Built by Maurice "Mike" O'Conner

Though representing a modern steel-hulled fishing trawler, this hull of this model was built up using traditional plank-on-frame technique. Plans and materials came from a kit by Billing Boats.

The Billing Boats site describes the Nordkap as a typical trawler from the North Sea, built in1970 at an English shipyard. The model kit is based on the original ship drawings. Tonnage: 185 gross register tonnage. Length overall: 40.0 m. Beam: 9.30 m. Motor: 1000 HP diesel. Cruising speed: 12-14 knots. Crew: 7-8 men. Fishing tackle: Drag net (trawl). Fishing area: Around Iceland and Greenland. Haul: Herring, cod and trash fish.

Mike O'Conner was a pilot and engineer for Douglas Aircraft for over 40 years and enjoyed building models as a hobby. He was also a member of the Shadowridge Ocean Hills Retirement Community "Woodchucks" woodworking club. Several years ago, members of that club toured the Craftsmanship Museum in Vista. When he passed away in May, 2010 at his request his wife donated his finest model to the Joe Martin Foundation's museum for all to enjoy.

Built and donated by Michael Titone, Temecula, CA


USS Constitution

Built by Michael Titone

This 1/78 scale plank-on-frame model was built by Michael Titone starting from a Model Shipways kit. Rigging is all functional.

In 1794, the United States Congress authorized the construction of six warships, which in effect created the American Navy. One of these ships was the USS Constitution, which became known as "Old Ironsides" because the oak used in her hull construction was so hard that enemy bullets were unable to penetrate her 7" thick hull.

The Constitution was built in Boston in 1797 and first served in the "Quasi War" with France from 1798 to 1800. She also served in the Mediterranean in the battle against pirates in Tripoli. In 1812, during the war against Britain one of her most famous battles was the victory over the British HMS Guerriere. Another important victory was won with the defeat of the HMS Java later that year.

By 1831 the Constitution was considered not fit to sail, but public opinion of the famous ship allowed it to continue in activeservice until 1881. It has now been restored and is on display at the Naval Museum in Boston, MA.

Courtesy of Michael Titone


HMS Supply

Built by Michael Titone

This 1/56 scale plank-on-frame model was built by Michael Titone starting from an Artesania Latina kit. Rigging is all functional.

In 1787 a convoy of 11 ships uner the leadership of Captain Arthur Phillip left Plymouth, England on a journey to the far side of the world. The ships contained 1500 Marines, officers, seamen and their families along with 732 convicts bound for a new penal colony in New South Wales in the future commonwealth of Australia. The trip to Botany Bay took eighteen months and one week.

The HMS Supply, at 168 tons was the swiftest sailor in the first fleet and acted as a scout and message carrier during the voyage. She was the first ship to enter Botany Bay on January 19, 1788. The Supply rates with the Sirius as the most famous historical ship of the new Australian nation and was typical of the convict ships that would transport more British prisoners to that new nation.

Courtesy of Michael Titone


HMS Victory, Granado

Built by Michael Titone

This 1/84 scale plank-on-frame model was built by Michael Titone starting from an Artesania Latina kit. Rigging is all functional.

The Granado was originally built as a sloop designed by the great naval architect Thomas Slade who also designed the HMS Victory. The Granado was launched on June 20, 1742.

She worked at intelligence gathering and intercepting smugglers and privateers. With the impending Seven Year's War, the Admiralty converted her to a bomb vessel in 1755. As a bomb vessel she performed her duties admirably and ended her career with the close of the war in 1763.

Courtesy of Michael Titone


Oseberg Viking Burial Ship

Built by Michael Titone

This 1/25 scale plank-on-frame model was built by Michael Titone starting from a Billings Boats kit.

This is a model of an unusual Viking burial vessel that seems to pose more questions than it answers. The Oseberg burial mound (Norwegian: Oseberghaugen ved Slagen from the Old Norse word haugr meaning mound or barrow) contained the ship, numerous grave goods and two female human skeletons. The ship’s interment into its burial mound dates from 834, but parts of the ship date from around 800, and the ship itself is thought to be older. It was excavated by Norwegian archaeologist Haakon Shetelig and Swedish archaeologist Gabriel Gustafson in 1904-1905. This ship is widely celebrated and has been called one of the finest finds to have survived the Viking Age. The ship and some of its contents are displayed at the Viking Ship Museum, in Bygdøy.

Unfortunately, in the middle ages the mound was tunneled into by robbers and all of the metalware was removed. The ship and remaining contents were perfectly preserved by the clay in which it was buried for over 1000 years. It remains one of the best preserved relics of the Viking age.

Boat in a Bulb

Built by Howard Griffus, San Diego, CA

Howard Griffus, a retired shipwright, wanted to see if he could put a tiny boat in an old automotive lightbulb. Beginning when he was just 10 years old, Howard has built a number of model boats and ships (you’ll find a couple of his works at the Maritime Museum in San Diego) but this was a first for him. After leaving the military, Howard worked as a fire fighter and then as a shipwright in the San Francisco Bay area.


Donated by Joe Martin



Model Sailing Ship in a Bottle (Maker unknown)

Ship models built inside glass bottles have amazed viewers for centuries. Sailors had plenty of time on their hands in their off-duty hours aboard ship and a ready supply of bottles, wood and cloth. They also had the requisite knowledge of ships and rigging to make accurate models. The trick was to build one inside a bottle when it was apparent to all viewers that it would not fit through the bottle's neck. How was it done? The ship was built outside the bottle but the rigging was designed so that it laid down on the deck of the ship while it was inserted into the bottle. Then a single string was pulled that erected the masts and rigging inside the bottle. The masts were glued in place and finally the erecting string was cut and removed, leaving a fully rigged ship inside the bottle...that is, if everything went as planned.

This modern model is no doubt constructed in the traditional way, because the bottle is intact. Though not of the quality of some you will see in museums by the finest craftsmen, it is probably pretty typical of a real seaman's model, and a pretty good one at that. The bottle stands about 12" tall and the ship is about 5" long. A US Quarter in the photos is used for size comparison.

Model Commercial Ship in a Bottle

Built by Mr. Fraas—Donated by USS Midway Museum, San Diego, CA

Commercial ship with seven holds built inside a small liquor bottle. Note the unusual carved bottle stopper.

Donated by Francis J. Tepedino


1:96 scale USS United States man-o'-war

Built by Francis J. Tepedino

A good way to get started in ship modeling is with plastic models. This detailed model by Revell still required a tremendous amount of upgrading, painting and rigging. Frank Tepedino comes from the East coast, where he says, "Practically every house has a ship model on the mantel or in the window." He likes to build models to sell, but to keep prices down he prefers to start with a plastic model kit and then do a super job of adding detail. This way he can do several a year instead of spending several years on one model that would be so expensive it would be difficult to find a buyer for it.

The United States was one of the three great 44 gun frigates that were ordered by Congress towards the end of the eighteenth century. She was launched in May 1797 and was considerably heavier then her sister ship the Constitution. This imposing man-o'-war had excellent sailing characteristics and saw hard service with the US Navy. During the 1812 war she captured the British frigate Macedonian. Later in her naval career she was rebuilt and refitted many times. In the confusion of the American Civil War she was sunk as a blockade by Union seamen in Norfolk during the surrender of Norfolk harbour. She was finally broken up in 1866.


1799 American Frigate USS Essex

Built by Norman Wuytens

This solid wood hull model was built from a Midwest Models kit. The kit only included the spars but no rigging instructions. The builder had to do extensive research to learn how and where to run all the rigging lines--a major part of building a model sailing ship. Some of the painted metal parts have deteriorated due to being stored for a time near thinners that created corrosive fumes, but the wood and rigging lines were not affected.

The USS Essex was a thirty-two gun frigate built in Salem, Massachusetts in 1799. She was known around the world for her speed and graceful lines, achieving many dramatic firsts for the young American Navy.

Essex was the first US warship to cross the equator and the first to round the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean to protect US shipping during the first Barbary War in Tripoli. Thirteen years later, she became the first American man-of-war to round the Horn into the Pacific.

Sailing the Pacific during the War of 1812, she captured 18 British whaling and merchant ships, causing the British to lose almost a million dollars of lost revenue and devastating their whaling industry. The ship was eventually captured by the British and re-commissioned as the HMS Essex before eventually ending its days as a prison ship in Jamaica.


Donated by William R. Brown

Radio Controlled Steam Tug Fergus

Built by William R. Brown

This live steam, radio controlled tugboat model is a hefty five feet long. It's boiler is heated by propane and it has sailed many hours on the water around San Diego.

The plans for Fergus were taken from a Royal Navy WWII rescue tug named Stormking. The Stormking was built by Cochrane & Sons Shipbuilders Ltd. (Selby, JK), laid down in July, 1942 and launched November 24th, 1942. It was commissioned four months later on March 29th, 1943. It was originally called the Stormcock but was renamed Stormking before commissioning. It carried the pennant W87 and was in the Assurance class of ships. After the war it was sold in 1957 and went through several name and ownership changes before being broken up for scrap in 1969.

In 1968, William Brown obtained the plans for Stormking and decided to make his own steam tug, which he named Fergus. Mr. Brown’s model is radio controlled and features a working 2-cylinder steam engine, feedwater pump and steam whistle. The boiler is fired by means of a propane tank mounted in front of it. The water tank for the boiler has a simple float pole with markings that can be seen through the forward cabin door on the port side when the superstructure is in place. The radio gear used to control the servos for steering, throttle and steam whistle is from about the 1968 era as well. The model was sailed many times.

We have displayed the model with the superstructure raised above the deck so you can see the workings of the steam boiler and engine.


Chippewa Model Steam Launch

Built by Gordon Wiles

This model steam launch is powered by a Stuart 10V 2-cylinder steam engine fed with steam from its own boiler. The boat is 5 feet long and weighs 40 pounds. The boiler is fired by a propane blowtorch. Radio control servos operated steering, throttle, forward/reverse and two steam whistles. The boat was often sailed in the lake at Busch Gardens in Los Angeles to the amusement of visitors to the park.

Inspired by the fun of operating a steam boat, Gordon went onto built a 29' long version of the boat that he called Victoria. It now resides with the California Maritime Academy.

Donated by Naomi Broadbent

Scratch Built Monterey type Fishing Boats

Built by Theodore Snoddy

These fishing boats were typical of the type used along the California coast from Monterey to San Francisco. Ted Snoddy worked from photos and postcards showing the boats and constructed these from his own plans. The hulls are individually planked. The boat on the left also features a skiff with oars. The boat on the right is named "Off-Road Cape Able."

Queen Mary 2 Ship Model

Courtesy of Kimberly Hogan

After a voyage on the Queen Mary 2, passengers were offered the opportunity to purchase a professionally built model of the ship as a memento. Not inexpensive at $3500, some passengers did nevertheless order a model. It took 6 months to custom build, but the final result is a miniature masterpiece loaded with tiny details down to the deck chairs and delicate railings. The model was made by Maritime Replicas in 1:350 scale. The last photo shows the model on display in its glass display case.

The QM2 remains the longest and heaviest ocean liner ever built. There are several lighter duty Oasis class cruise ships that are now larger, but they were not built for use in the heavy seas of the North Atlantic Ocean. Many container ships are also larger, but as passenger vessels go, the QM2 built in 2003 remains one of the largest.

Aircraft Models (Flying)

SBD Dive Bomber

Built by Mike Rapp

Mike has always enjoyed working with his hands and has been building flying airplane models since 1979. Limited by lack of funds, his first planes were gliders but he soon moved on to building power planes. While Mike enjoys seeing his models fly, he gets the most pleasure in the problem solving and actual construction of his projects. His SBD Dive Bomber took about two years to build.

Built by Douglas Aircrafts, the SBD ("Scout Bomber Douglas") is a World War II American naval scout plane and dive bomber. The SBD was the United States Navy's main carrier-based scout/dive bomber from mid-1940 through mid-1944. It was also flown by the United States Marine Corps, both from land air bases and aircraft carriers. The SBD is best remembered as the bomber that delivered the fatal blows to the Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway in June 1942. The type earned its nickname "Slow But Deadly" (from its SBD initials) during this period (Source wikipedia.org.) 2019.19.1

Pietenpol Air Camper RC Model Airplane

Built by Ellsworth Orr

Ellsworth Orr builds model airplanes and taught RC flying for eight years with San Diego Wingmaster, a model airplane club in Vista. His love of modeling goes back to when, as a child, his mother worked for Revell Models. He recalls someone gave him plans for this plane and a rainy day motivated him to start building. Ellsworth describes himself as someone not content to watch TV and prefers to keep busy building. The model flies using radio control and an electric motor. He likes to inspire and teach children the art of modeling. This plane is built from scratch with the exception of the landing gear wheels which were bought at a store. 2019.8.1


Allan Flowers' LA-11 "Ferret" Ground Support Aircraft Model

Designed, built and donated by Allan Flowers

This unique aircraft model was designed and built by former GM and Nissan stylist Allan Flowers in 1996-1997. Rather than model an existing plane he decided to design his own next generation of a ground support and tank killer aircraft. It would be part A-10 "warthog" and part Cobra gunship with a little Humvee thrown in. He handled the project as if designing a new car. First came sketches and computer drawings. Next he lofted the lines of the plane in three views using thin black tape on clear Mylar. Next he made a clay model of the fuselage from which molds were made and eventually plastic fuselage parts were vacuum formed. The parts were then painted, the wings made, control surface and landing gear servos installed and finally the Magnum Pro .45 cu. in. 2-stroke, single-cylinder model airplane engine was installed in the rear as a "pusher." Using a turboprop engine in the real version would give P-51-like performance but keep cost down to a minimum. The model ended up being featured on the cover of Radio Control Modeler magazine in June, 1997.

The first step—pencil sketches and computer generated drawings.
Next, a three-view drawing is lofted using strips of black tape on clear mylar. This full size drawing is about 6' long. Tape is used because it can be peeled up and repositioned easily to change the lines of the plane.
From the drawings, a clay model is made. The first is of the top of the fuselage, the second is of the bottom. Other clay models are made of other parts that will be vacuum formed later. Some of the stylist's clay modeling tools can be seen in the second photo.
Next, a mold is made for vacuum forming various parts. Shown here are the cockpit and pilot head insert and the nose of the aircraft including the canopy. The vacuum formed parts are made from clear plastic and painted on the inside after masking off the parts that will remain clear.
The final product. Note the cockpit detail including the face of the pilot inside the helmet. The face was modeled by a friend to look like the builder, Allan Flowers back in 1997. The last photo shows the plane with a blue ribbon it won for 1st place in the scale division of a contest in Pasadena in 1995.

The plane was flown 3 or 4 times and then put away for many years until donated to the Craftsmanship Museum for display in 2016.


The plane was featured on the cover of the June 1997 issue of Radio Control Modeler magazine. The photo was shot at Miramar Naval Air Station, known as "Fightertown USA" where the movie Top Gun was filmed. The planes and hangars in the background are real. The model was posed on a gray board and aligned to get the perspective right.

Custom built "Peanut Scale" biplane

Designed, built and donated by David Gee

This contest-winning rubber powered plane is patterned after the 1913 Grahame-White "Lizzie" and is built from balsa sticks with doped tissue for wing and fuselage surfaces. It is detailed down to the wire spoke wheels, pilot figure and a representation of the 9-cylinder rotary engine behind the prop. The very light weight Peanut Scale planes are designed to be flown indoors or in very calm exterior conditions.


Custom built "Control Line Speed" competition model airplane

Donated by John Stein

At the opposite end of the extreme compared to the delicate, slow biplane above, this plane was built for speed. The pilot held onto a pair of control lines, or in some cases a single wire that was twisted to drive a worm gear to work the elevator mechanism on the plane for altitude control. The operator stood in the center of a circle with his hand in a fixture that rotated but kept him in the center of the circle against the plane's centrifugal pull. And that pull could be quite high, as these tiny aircraft were capable of speeds between 100 and 200 MPH! This plane is fabricated from aluminum and has about a 15" wingspan. It was never quite completed, as the control line mechanism and elevator bellcrank were not installed. Unfortunately, nothing is known of the builder, and the engine is in the process of being identified.


Aircraft Models (Display)

Cessna 310RII & Beechcraft V35B Bonanza

Gulfstream GIVSP


1/144th Scale Custom Aircraft Models

Built by Ronald Sanctuary

Pictured here are just a few of the more than 280 144th scale model aircraft that Ron has built. All are scratch built using castings. Some of the castings come from other modelers such as those made by Donald Schmenk while others Ron carves and casts himself. He has also built a number of other vehicles in other scales such as 1/87 scale cars and boats.

Ron has been involved in aviation for most of his career either as a pilot or instructor for both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. He became interested in building models in the early 60s. Each of his models have full interiors (even for aircraft where you can't see the interior such as the Gulfstream pictured here.) He begins by hollowing out the fuselage then adds in the interior details from instrument panels and flight controls to passenger seating and galleys. Every detail (landing gear, props, antennas, windows, seats, instrument panels, controls etc) is handmade and installed in the proper orientation for the aircraft being modeled taking about 3 months per model to complete. 2018.19


Joe Bridi Collection
These aircraft models were made by former Air Force pilot Ralph Sarosi. Ralph flew a large number of different aircraft over his career from a P-51 after WWII to fighter jets. He flew chase planes when the Space Shuttle landed at Edwards AFB, so his career spanned from propellers to spacecraft. The models are carved from wood and expertly painted. They were purchased and collected by R/C flyer Joe Bridi.

Two Grumman F7F "Tigercats" in different paint schemes. The F7F tigercat was a twin engine fighter that could operate from Midway class carriers or larger. It saw service in navy and Marine Corps colors from the Korean war on. Most were land based, and only the F7F-4N was certified for carrier service.

The yellow paint job denotes a target towing aircraft. The dark blue color is the US Navy version.

2013.35.3  2014.14.3


Three different versions of the Grumman G-44 "Widgeon" include one with radial engines, one with inline engines and one in the color scheme of "Catalina Airlines," a carrier that flew passengers from Long Beach to Catalina island for many years. Though originally designed for civilian service, the plane was produced from 1941 to 1955 and saw service as a scout plane during WWII and was later used by the Coast Guard.

2013.35.5, 2013.36.1

F-14 "Tomcat"—The only military jet in Joe's collection, most people will recognize it as one of the stars of the movie "Top Gun." The big fighter was capable of carrier operations. The model, like the real plane has wings that can be swept back or extended for slower speeds in flight.


Laird Solution biplane—Built starting in 1931, the Laird LC-DW500 Super Solution, aka "Sky Buzzard," was a racing biplane built by Matty Laird for the Cleveland Speed Foundation. It was similar in design to the Gee Bee with its short, wide fuselage and large engine. It was the first winner of the Bendix Trophy race from Burbank to Cleveland where it was flown by Maj. Jimmy Dolittle.


Fairchild PT-19 Basic Trainer—Powered by an inline engine, this was used as a primary trainer in WWII. It was used "pre-solo" with an instructor in the second seat as an introductory aircraft before moving on to a more advanced trainer. The plane's plywood covered wings created maintenance problems in hot climates like Florida and Texas where it was used, sometimes requiring replacement after only three months.


Piper J3 "Cub"—Built between 1937 and 1947, this inexpensive light airplane introduced many new pilots to flying. One of the best known planes of all time, the Cub is compared to the Model T automobile for its utility and reliability.


Boeing B-17—The workhorse bomber in Europe during WWII was known as the "Flying Fortress." It began development in 1935 and carried a crew of 10. The aircraft went on to serve in every WWII combat zone, and by the time production ended in May 1945, 12,731 aircraft had been built by Boeing, Douglas and Vega (a subsidiary of Locheed. It had a range of 2000 miles and a ceiling of 35,600 feet. A number of external guns were needed to protect it from enemy fighters, as fighter escorts early in the war didn't have the range to accompany the bombers all the way to their targets over enemy territory.


Curtis P-40 "Warhawk"—this plane is seen in the Chinese markings with the painted shark mouth as made famous by the Flying Tigers in asia during WWII. Assigned to the 1st American Volunteer Group flying under General Claire Lee Chennault, these "private contractors" fought valiantly to protect the Chinese from Japanese attack. Receiving little outside support, they kept these planes flying against huge odds. Returning pilots got together and formed Flying Tigers cargo transport service after the war.


"Gee Bee" R1 Racing Plane— Designed by the Granville Brothers (hence the GB name) it was a special-built racing plane designed to vie for the Thompson tropy. It was, in effect a Pratt & Whitney 1333 engine with wings and a tail added to it. It won the 1932 Thompson trophy with Jimmy Dolittle at the controls. He also set a new world landplane speed record of 476 km/h (296 mph) in the Shell Speed Dash. The plane's small control surfaces and uncompromising design made it a difficult and dangerous plane to fly.


Rearwin Speedster—Designed before the Great Depression, only two protypes were built before production ceased. Production stopped in 1934 and resumed in 1937 but the original  Ace Cirrus engines were no longer available by that time, so a switch was made to Menasco C-4 for production.


Ryan PT-22 "Recruit" Advanced Trainer—This was the US Military's first monoplane trainer. It was used for more advanced training after the PT-19 prior to WWII. It was powered by various 5-cylinder radial engines. Original cost per plane was $10,000.


1940 Waco UPD-7 Biplane—


North American T6 SNJ "Texan" Trainer—Used in WWII and into the 1950's, this advanced trainer was used by all the services. The "SNJ" is the Navy designation, while the Army Air Corps referred to it as the AT-6.


T-34C "Mentor" Trainer—Built by Beechcraft and based on the Model 35 "Bonanza", the military trainer model was redesigned with a conventional tail instead of the "V" tail of the Bonanza. It also has a fore/aft cockpit seating instead of side-by-side. This is the "Turbo-Mentor" version which came with a more powerful turboprop engine.


Business Jet—The only other jet in the collection, this jet was based on the Aero Commander. That company was purchased by North American Rockwell, but they already had a small business jet, the Saberliner. The design was eventually sold to IAI (Israeli Aircraft Industries) which now sells the modern version of this plane as the Westwind II. The tiny winglets on the wingtip tanks were developed on this aircraft and are now  standard on almost all jet passenger planes.


Douglas DC-3 AirlinerAmerican Airlines “Flagship ” Built as a transcontinental airliner capable of crossing the United States coast-to-coast in 15 hours (3 stops). Over 10,000 of the military C-47 version were built in WWII.


Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" bomber—This diecast metal model features a fancy paint job including the plane's name, "A Dragon and It's Tail."


Sikorsky VS-44A Flying Boat—Known as “Mother Goose," it flew under the colors of Catalina Airlines/Avalon Air Transport for much of its career. it typically flew from Long Beach to Avalon daily from 1957 to 1968. It is one of only three built in 1942. It also served as a Navy transport flying between New York and Ireland before being flown to South America where it was to deliver supplies to the Amazon. That didn't work out, and it was purchased by Catalina Airlines and flown back to Long Beach where it was returned to passenger service.


Grumman G-73 "Mallard" Amphibian—Building on the success of the Goose and Widgeon, Grumman Aircraft developed Design 73, the larger "Mallard" for commercial use. Retaining many of the features of the smaller aircraft, such as twin radials, high wings with underwing floats, retractable landing gear and a large straight tail, the company built 59 Mallards between 1946 and 1951. Unlike the smaller aircraft, the Mallard featured tricycle gear, stressed skin, a two-step hull and wingtip fuel tanks. This one is painted in the colors of "CAT—The Route of the Seagulls." California Amphibious Transport provided seaplane service to the Catalina Island in California for about a year between 1981 and 1982, flying from Long Beach Airport with a Grumman Mallard and a Piper Navajo. The airline's owner was Dan Aikens. 2014.40.2
Grumman Tigercat Diecast Model—The F7F-3 Tigercat was one of Joe Bridi's favorite planes to model. This one was made by First Gear Collectibles and features retractible landing gear and folding wingtips for carrier deck storage. It is in blue Marine Corps colors and numbered G-142.

Other Vehicle Models

On loan courtesy Rob Ryan

Formula 1 Race Car
Built by Rob Ryan and Family

Rob and his son started this project by first working with a plastic F1 kit they purchased. Using the plastic model as a pattern, they began to construct their Western Digital (WD) F1 car. Internal Components from several different types of WD hard drives were used. A total of 250 hard drives were collected, disassembled, and crafted to create this very unusual car. The wheels and the tires are the only parts not made from WD drive parts.

The wheel hubs are made from 10,000 RPM and 7,200 RPM hard drive motors. WD Red® hard drives were used to build the side panels of the car and engine air scoop using stacks of the anti-disks. The actuators of the WD Red® hard drives (the arms that read data on the hard drive) were used to form the front wing of the car. The rear wing and mount are made from WD VelociRaptor® and WD Scorpio® actuators. The front and center of the body is cut from WD Scorpio® top covers.

A small stack of disk spacers on a 7,200RPM motor in the middle of the car model the driver's head. Behind the driver is the replica V12 engine using the actuators from 12 WD Scorpio® notebook hard drives. The transmission is made up of stacks of WD Scorpio® VCM magnets. The differential is a stack of spindle motor windings from many different types of motors. The LED and driver circuits in the body are cut from sections of Western Digital WD My Passport® external hard drive boards.
The WD Fl Car is powered by a 12v power supply and custom "C" controller code written by Rob spins the drivers head and flashes the LED lights at varying times when power is applied.

Build time: 400 hours
Medium: WD hard drive parts
Hard drives used: 250


Chopper Motorcycle
Built by Kenneth Roger Casey

Roger has been building wooden works of art for many years. He builds models after actual old woody station wagons and Harley Motorcycles. No two models are exactly the same. All the pieces, including wheels, are handmade out of solid hardwoods such as Oak, Maple, Walnut, and Teak. Many of his Woody's have gone to collectors throughout San Diego.

The Chopper is 26 inches long standing 12 inches tall. Like Roger's other works, the Chopper is scratch built from Walnut and Figure Maple and won 1st place in the model building division of the 2007 Del Mar Fair San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association (SDFWA) Design in Wood "Model Building" venue.

Courtesy of Kenneth Roger Casey

Datsun 240Z Tribute Car

Built by Mark Bracewell

A car guy all his life, Mark started building model cars around age 10. He’s continued to build models throughout his adult life and won the Titus Brothers Creative Concept Design Award in 2015 for his custom build 1962 Ford Thunderbird. Mark also did some SCCA racing in his Ford Capri until it got wrecked. He then did a total restoration on a Lotus Type 61 Formula Ford which he then raced and still owns today.

While racing, Mark took a liking to the 240Z race car owned and driven by his friend Cliff Koehler; partly because Mark owned both a 240Z and 260Z in the past. So Mark took to building his 240Z Tribute car customizing a 240Z Hot Wheels car. He began the project by disassembling the Hot Wheels car in order to customize the interior including the roll cage. Gauges, steering wheel, seats, etc., were all modified to recreate the look of Cliff’s interior. The exterior body was modified to remove bumpers and hood vents then sanded and primed in prep for the final paint scheme. Mark replaced the wheels, tires, and mirrors and even recreated the decals to match the real car.

Courtesy of Mark Bracewell

CASE Steam Engine Tractor
Built by
Kay Tillman

Growing up on the family farm in Iowa, Kay spent most of his childhood working. By 4 years old he already had regular chores to do around the farm and was driving tractors and farm trucks by the time he was 10. He remembered the CASE tractor, also known as the Road Locomotive, for its legendary power and reputation.

In addition to his CASE tractor, Kay used to build model boats from scratch, becoming nationally recognized for his craftsmanship. Always being industrious, garnering the nickname Work as a youth, Kay managed to turn his model boat hobby into a money making enterprise, able to spend time in his favorite hobby as Work.

Courtesy of Jeff Tillman

1958 Miss Bardahl Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Boat
Built by Ellsworth Orr

The Miss Bardahl U-40 raced for two seasons, 1958 & 1959, with an impressive list of results. Ellsworth received plans for Miss Bardahl from a fiend however, the plans were missing dimensions. So Ellsworth did some research and found that the boat’s length was 30 feet. With that piece of information, he was able to scale all of the boat’s dimensions. Built from scratch, it took him about 350 hours to build Miss Bardahl over a 4 month period and won 1st place at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, California.
Courtesy of Ellsworth Orr

On loan courtesy of Carl Schwam

English Canal Boat & Steamroller
Built by Carl Schwam

Carl started using machine tools his father had bought for him when he was very young and went on to become an accomplished machinist and tool & die maker. Carl later went to school to become a mechanical engineer

Carl's steamboat is modeled after an English Canal boat. This 50" boat is radio controlled and was run by Carl in San Diego. Carl made the steam engine first then decided to build a boat for the engine.

Carl built this 20" steamroller of his own design based on a variety of steamroller photos he had collected.
2017.9.1, 2017.9.2

Featured Exhibit!

On loan courtesy of Bernhard Goettker


General Motors Craftsman's Guild Model Contest Coach, 1932

In the early 1930's, local San Marcos company owner Bernhardt Goettker's father (also named Bernhardt) entered a contest hosted by General Motors. GM offered a set of plans and instructions for young model builders to duplicate the ornate Napolionic coach that was the symbol in the "Body by Fisher" logo used by Buick, Cadillac and other top GM brands. Top prize was a 4-year college scholarship and lesser prizes included $25 or $100 in gold. Bernhardt's father was 14 when he started the model and about 16 when he finished it and entered it in the contest. It did not win the top prize, but he did receive an award certificate and a gold ribbon for participation, and his family still has a model that they treasure highly—a lasting tribute to the senior Mr. Goettker's skill as a craftsman.

The contest extended from 1930 to 1968, but in its later years the rules were changed to encourage models of futuristic vehicles as might be conceived by the GM design studio. Over the years the GM Craftsman's Guild had over 8 million young members and was second in popularity only to the Boy Scouts.

An original set of model coach plans was donated by Ray Anderson and is on file in the museum library. A diorama model builder and author, Mr. Anderson was also a Guild member who built a model coach in his youth.

NOTE: Mr. Goettker has also donated a Deckle pantograph mill and a RayCon EDM machine to the museum's machine shop.

Emil Kostron is shown with his finished GM coach model in the 1930's. He won a $25 savings bond for taking 1st place in the Paintcraft division of the Indiana regional finals.


Both the Goettker and Kostron models are now on display and museum visitors can compare the two.

General Motors Craftsman's guild Napoleonic Coach Contest Model (Permanent Exhibit)

Built by Emil Kostron, 1932—Donated by Ron and Sandy Kostron

Ron Kostron notes the following about his father:

"Emil Kostron, was the ultimate perfectionist. He could do most anything with his hands, a self taught jack of all trades from the old school. He often proclaimed that if you can't do it right the first time, don't do it at all. Growing up, I remember him studying books on watch making and then going off to Indianapolis to take the exam to get his watchmakers certificate. He took a lot of pride  in everything he did. During the day he worked at Kraus Jewelers in Gary, Indiana repairing clocks and watches. He would come home, have supper, get a few hours of sleep and go off to work the 11-7 shift at  US Steel's sheet and tin works as a instrument repairman. He claimed to only need 4 hours of sleep but I suspect he had a place in his repair room to catnap a little. He had a work bench in our basement that was always neat & tidy. Every tool had its place and was back in its place when he was done with it. I recall his 1937 Plymouth 4 -door. When he would come home for lunch,  I'd meet him down at the end of the alley and he would let me ride on the running board back up to the house. He took such good care of that car. Once I watched him pull the straight-6 engine out and rebuild it right there in the garage. That car got washed and waxed so many times that when in 1956 he traded it in for a new Ford Fairlane no one would believe that  it had its original paint. It was still pretty much like new. He wanted both me and my sister to go to college so we would have good jobs and not have to work in the steel mill and live in Gary. It was his idea that I  should go to pharmacy school and my sister should be a teacher. He worked 2 jobs for over 20 years with the goal of sending his 2 children to college. I am so grateful."  


2010.8.2 and 2010.8.3

Donated by Phillip R. Henderson

1:15.2 wooden Marathon-LeTourneau L-1100 front end loader, Cement truck and Daimler-Benz motorcycle

Built by Perry R. Henderson, 1992

Perry Henderson built many large wooden models of construction equipment for his friends in his lifetime. This was one of two diesel electric front end loaders he built that were retained by his family. (The other is in Africa.) Perry passed away several years ago and this model was donated by the family. It is articulated in the center and the bucket moves up and down and tilts as the wooden hydraulic cylinders slide. It is made from varnished but unpainted (except for the red fire extinguishers) white pine.

It is 42" long, 12-1/2" wide and 20-1/2" tall to the top of the bucket. The original had a 22 cubic yard or 66,000 pound bucket capacity and a wheelbase of 19'.

2012.42.1 2012.42.2 2012.42.3 2012.42.4

Donated by John McGinley

Wooden Model Toy Trucks

Built by George C. Russell

George Russell worked for Roger Penske's racing organization. In his spare time he enjoyed making toys from wood for his children. After they grew up and no longer had any interest in them, he sold them to a fellow worker, John McGinley who donated them to our museum.

Included are an 18-wheel rig of semi tractor and flatbed trailer that is several feet long, a fire truck hose tender with ladders, a colorful stakebed truck for a younger child and a toy armored truck coin bank. The semi truck and fire truck are quite detailed with a spare tire under the trailer, ladders, fire extinguisher and lights. The models are sturdy and nicely made and finished.

A US Quarter dollar coin is shown in each photo to give size reference.



Wooden Locomotive Models

Built by Eckhard Fadtke

Eckhard Fadtke was born in Potsdam, Germany and later served an apprenticeship as a mechanic. After college he moved to the United States and started a small business where he worked in metal. Eckhard's interests turned to the natural look and colors of wood enjoying the process of transforming natural patterns into familiar shapes such as a bowl, kaleidoscope or railroad locomotive. His works have been displayed in four locations within the Clark County Library system in Nevada.

Eckhard Fadtke owned his own metal working business from 1974 through 2001. After retiring he turned his attention to woodworking. 2019.2

Wood and Brass Model Cushman 711 Scooter

Built by Daniel "Buzz" Brunkow

Daniel Brunkow (above) brought this model in to the museum to show us, and we talked him into letting us display it for the coming year for all to enjoy. The 1/4 scale model is built to a high level of detail capturing the fun of an era where motorized two-wheel transportation was a little simpler.

In addition to the complete Model 711 scooter, Daniel also offered a model of a 1939 Cushman Husky engine for display. Like the full scooter model, the engine has a high degree of detail. Even the tiny butterfly on the carburetor works as does the kick starter gearing.

(On display for one year starting July 20, 2013)

Miniature Model Ski Boat and Outboard Engines

Built by Daniel "Buzz" Brunkow

In addition to the model Cushman scooter shown above, Buzz also brought in a miniature wooden model flatbottom ski boat with a tiny outboard engine attached. The mahogany boat is only about 6" long. The .010 cu. in. engine is based on the piston and cylinder of a Cox Thimble Drome engine and utilizes a flexible drive shaft. The other outboard is based on a Cox .020 engine.

For more of Buzz Brunkow's model outboard collection see the OTHER ENGINES page.

On Loan Courtesy of Daniel Brunkow, October 12, 2013

1.     2.

3a.   3b.


Miniature Commercial Outboard Motors

From the Collection of Daniel "Buzz" Brunkow

Daniel has been collecting engines for a long time. These are some of the outboard motors in his collection. Some represent actual production motors and have a scale appearance, others are based on gas engines and made for speed.

1. Small scale electric Mercury, Johnson and Scott-Atwater outboards

2. Two larger scale electric Mercury engines

3a and b.  Three AMPS gas powered outboards...these were capable of very high speeds. (Shown with motor covers in place and removed)

4 These large K&B powered outboards do not represent a particular real-life engine, they are just made to be fast. The one with the gold flywheel is powered by a K&B 7.5

5. Outdrive unit with twin, counter-rotating, 2-bladed propellors.


Chris-Craft Cobra R/C Model Boat

Built by Daniel "Buzz" Brunkow

This is an extremely well built model of the unusual Chris-Craft speedboat built in the 1950's. Chris-Craft was traditionally a wooden boat builder, but this was their first attempt at fiberglass construction, with the gold finned engine cover on the stern deck. Buzz's model includes electric motors and receiver for running the model via radio control. His epoxy finish on the individually planked hull is virtually perfect. White calking lines are represented by thin strips of white plastic between each plank on the deck. The model is based on a kit by Dumas.

On loan courtesy of Daniel Brunkow, November 30, 2013

On loan courtesy of Ed Stewart

Metal Vehicle Art

Built by Ed Stewart

Ed is a builder with a good touch with shaping metal and a sense of humor. he also volunteers his time at the Craftsmanship Museum as a docent. His vehicles seem to be full of motion with lots going on. You can tell Ed had fun conceiving and building these nice pieces in a folk art style.

Images 1-3—A driver talking on a cell phone is about to get into a whole lot of trouble for dropping his load of 55 gallon drums on the highway as he motors on totally unaware. Ed has supported the vehicle from underneath, leaving nothing but air between the centers of the axels and the wheels, giving the impression they are spinning so fast you can't see them. He is either from England or he's on the wrong side of the road too.

Images 4-5—An old sports car flies down a county lane taking a turn so fast the inside front wheel is lifting off the ground. The driver with cap and goggles is getting all he can from this old open-fendered beast.

Photos of the racecar with the fiberglass body removed.

(Left) A typical track. Note the short catch barrier around the outside of the concrete track plus the chain link fence for safety. (Right) A track worker push starts a car using a pole.

Class V FTL Tether Car

Courtesy of Rick Schafer

This car has been clocked at over 197 MPH on its first run at Whittier Narrows, CA. It averaged over 188 MPH for a timed 8 laps. The world record for this class of car is 214.348 MPH held by Gualtiero Picco, the builder of this engine. The machining was done by Lloyd Torrey, and the car is entirely custom built starting with a cast aluminum frame. It features a 10cc Picco 2-cylce engine with a tuned steel exhaust expansion chamber. Tires are made from solid rubber and are only about 1/8" wide. The car weighs about 7 pounds, but at 200 MPH it exerts over 300 pounds of centrifugal force on the steel cable that keeps it going in a circle, and a lap at that speed takes less than 3/4 of a second.

The tracks for this type of car are very specialized. Because of the speeds attained, they must have a steel barrier 2" behind the car to catch it if the cable should break. Taller secondary fences also protect the spectators. There are only three recognized tracks in the USA: Seaford, NY, Anderson, IN and Whittier Narrows, CA.

The cars are push started with a long stick. A second person holds the .079" thick steel cable up so it doesn't drag on the ground while the car picks up speed. Once it is pulling tight on the cable he steps up onto a platform above the 10 meter long cable, which is attached to a pole at the center of the track. The car can be shut down by means of a lever that shuts off the fuel supply when triggered by holding out a broomstick to hit the lever as the car goes by. Speeds are measured by a radar gun and read out on a sign next to the track.

Also included with the car are a tire trimming fixture and a battery charge/discharge fixture.

This proposal model for a portable compressor on a trailer would have been unusual for Solar Turbines to build. Most of the military portable turbine units they built for use in Iraq ran electrical generators.


Solar Turbines Mobile Gas Compression Station

This study model was made by Solar Turbines in San Diego, most likely as a proposal for the military. It is a Centaur or Taurus portable gas compressor unit, typically used to boost transmission gas line pressure between natural gas transmission stations or at a natural gas plant. It dates from the 80’s or early 90’s.

From right to left in the photo: The cylindrical tank is a gas storage tank. The small V8 auto engine below it is used to pressurize the tank. The tank pressure is used to drive a pneumatic starter motor. The pneumatic starter motor is attached to the larger turbine engine housed in the box enclosure to the left of the storage tank. The Mars turbine engine inside that enclosure is rated somewhere between 3,000 and 8,000 shaft horsepower depending on the model. The curved vent duct on top of the enclosure is a combustion air intake unit. The dark duct to the left of that is the combustion exhaust duct for the turbine engine, used to reduce noise when the unit is running. (8,000 hp at 20,000 rpm is noisy!) The two small sideways fire hydrant shaped units to the left of the box are gas compressors. The output shaft of the turbine spins those gas compressors which utilize a rotor/stator design to boost gas pressure. Typically with two compressor units, one takes the gas from ambient pressure up to medium pressure, then the second one takes it from medium up to higher pressure (referred to as a two-body). The horizontal box at the left of the model looks like a gas cooler, built similarly to the radiator in your car.

The model is made mostly from structural plastic sheet and rod. It was most likely built by the late Gene Leslie in the Solar Turbines factory model shop. After it served its purpose, the model was eventually auctioned off and was actually purchased for its sturdy shipping container. The model itself was donated to the museum by the buyer of the shipping container, Mr. Alonzo Clark. Our thanks to former Solar employees Dave Biermann and Wayne Myers for providing details on the unit.



Solar Turbines Gemini APU Turbine Rotor

This is the heart of a turbine auxiliary power unit. The blades are very thin and made from Titanium. This particular demonstration unit was assembled from scrap parts. Actual cost of a replacement of a unit like this is about $3300.00.

Donated by Janice Marshall of Solar Turbines


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Museum Quality Commercial Models

Made in small quantities, these models are not for kids. Commercial models are made for corporate display or for private collectors who have a particular love for the item being modeled--from cars to construction equipment.

On loan courtesy of a member of the Bay Area Engine Modelers in San Francisco, CA.

Bugatti Type 35

Scale: 1/8

Fine Art Models, Royal Oak, MI

One of a limited edition of 25, this all metal model is assembled from parts made by some of the finest model craftsmen around the world. A master model builder makes the initial prototype, and then it is broken down into component parts which are sub-contracted in limited quantities to skilled model makers in several countries. The final assembly is done in Michigan. See www.fineartmodels.com for more on the company and the other models it has to offer. These are highly detailed and rather expensive models for the high end collector.

Donated by Les Cade

1983 Bucyrus-Erie 88B Series 4 Shovel

Scale: 1:48

Classic Construction Models, Beaverton, OR

One of a limited edition of 500, the last of these highly detailed models was sold in 1997. The company contracts with craftsmen in Korea to build and paint these brass models. They offer a very complete line of construction equipment. The original list price of this model was $1195.00, but it was sold out in 1997, so now the collector market will determine the value of any that happen to come up for private sale.

Companies often contract with highly skilled craftsmen in other countries where labor rates are cheaper in order to produce high quality models at affordable prices. Construction quality, detail and paint must be totally authentic to sell to this discriminating audience of expert collectors. These are among the more expensive models available to collectors.

Only 602 of the real cranes were built between 1949 and 1983, so almost as many models were made as were originals.

For more offerings, see www.ccmodels.com.

NOTE: If you like construction equipment models, don't miss the pages on Larry Simon and Jerry Brown on this site.

Other companies produce models from museum quality to affordable collector pieces. Although we do not have any examples in the museum here are listings for a few of them:

• Fine Art Models—Very limited edition museum quality aircraft, cars and ships from $10,000 to $15,000. See www.fineartmodels.com

• Franklin Mint—Affordable models of popular cars and motorcycles. See www.franklinmint.com

• Exoto, Inc.—Highly authentic and detailed model race cars priced from $120.00 to $750.00. See www.exoto.com

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Toys from a model engineer's youth

These are items that were built to be played with, but offered not only amusement, but the owner ended up learning something about how things work by the time he was done. Many model engineers started out with toys like these before going on to build their own from scratch.

Courtesy of Joe Martin

Mamod SW1 Steam Wagon

Made in England

This live steam model is one of a series offered by Mamod in England starting in the early 1970's and is still available. It is patterned after the original "pickup truck" vehicle sometimes called the Foden Wagon and its unique rear wheels are accurately reproduced in miniature. Improvements over the original TE1 steam traction engine offered by Mamod help keep the operator's fingers from getting burned when operating the whistle. The chain steering is controlled by the steering wheel in the cab, and allows the vehicle to navigate a present diameter circle when turned loose under steam power.

Donated by Chad Martin

Mamod SE1A Static Horizontal Steam Engine and Boiler

Made in England

This small boiler and horizontal steam engine are typical of the steam toys enjoyed by generations of kids before the lawyers got involved. It was used as a child by Joe Martin's nephew, Chad who has kindly donated it for display. It has a container for alcohol that is lit and put under the boiler. Steam in the boiler is sent through small copper tubes to the steam engine, which drives a flywheel and power takeoff drive wheel. Belts from this wheel could be used to power other toys like a small lathe. The boiler also has a pop-off valve to prevent too much pressure from building up and a steam whistle.

It was probably built in the 1950's or 1960's. Mamod still produces similar engines today, although this particular model is no longer in production.

Donated by Peter Amis

The Gescha Transparent Engine

Manufacturer: Messrs Gebr. Schmid, Nuremberg, Germany (metal base is labeled "Burton-Rodgers Inc, Ohio)

This four-cylinder inline engine is a representation of the engine used in the Model A Ford. The spark plugs have a small red light at the tip that lights up in the correct firing order when the engine is cranked. Clear plastic material for the block allows the internal workings to be seen in action. An illustrated manual printed in Germany on how to assemble the kit is included.

A metal battery box is built into the engine stand base to power the spark plug lights, but requires two batteries of a size that is no longer in production.

Visible V-8

Revell Inc. (Revell/Monogram Models)

This representation of a small-block Chevrolet engine includes all internal details housed in a clear plastic engine block so the function of each component can be seen in action. A crank at the rear end of the crankshaft turns the engine over as the viewer can see the pistons, camshaft, rocker arms and valves all move in the proper sequence. Rubber belts drive the alternator, water pump and fan as well. At approximately 1/4 scale it is large enough to really see what is going on and is a great way to illustrate how a modern internal combustion engine works. In addition to the assembly instructions, an informative book on internal combustion engines is included.

This kit is still available. We purchased the one seen in the museum from eBay and assembled it ourselves.


Cox W-196 Racer
Manufactured by Cox

This replica of the #8 Karl Kling’s 1954 Cox Racer Grand Prix Mercedes W-196 is a rear wheel drive tether car utilizing a drive-shaft and differential and powered by a Cox model Tee Dee .049 engine. Manufactured at the Cox plant in Santa Ana, California, this is the last W-196 tether car made at the end of the limited one-year production run in 1961. At the end of the run, employees were instructed to make all the cars they could until the parts ran out. A family friend who worked at the Cox plant when the production run ended told Rich that this was the last W-196 she completed. Knowing that Rich used to run a W-196, she gave him this W-196 to replace the one he had crashed. Being one of the last cars assembled at the factory, it was missing the packaging, tether handle, and driver. Rich recognized that this W-196 was a one-of-a-kind and never ran it or even started the engine.

Courtesy Rich Palmer

Courtesy of Ron and Steven Green

Automite .049 Tether Car

Wen Mac Corporation, Culver City, CA, Circa late 1950's

Before radio control entered the powered car hobby, motorized cars were usually run either tethered to a center post or on rails on a circular track. Wen Mac put the popular .049 engine in a plastic body, bringing the price down to mass market levels. Prior to that, most tether cars had cast aluminum bodies with larger engines and were capable of very high speeds. This particular model appears never to have been run and is still in the original box.

Wen Mac is no longer in business, but during the early days of Disneyland they paid $500 a month to host the flight circle in Tomorrowland, flying their aircraft and running tether cars for the visitors with several shows a day. In 1958 the Cox Company took over the flight circle until it was closed in the 1960's. Walt Disney himself used to show up often to watch the shows.

Courtesy of Craig Libuse

AHI Brand Electric Diecast Toy Machine Shop

Though many are familiar with the steam powered machine shop toys made by Wilesco and others, this Japanese-made toy, possibly from the 1960's, was unusual in that the shop is driven by a battery powered electric motor that drives a jackshaft with a belt. Each individual machine is drive from the jackshaft with a separate round metal belt. The shop consists of a green milling machine with a circular cutter, a blue drill press with functional quill feed and a red lathe with moveable leadscrew, crosslide and compound slide. The tools are made from diecast metal and the gray metal base is stamped from sheet. The box and original label is still in fine condition on this version.

Donated by Joe Martin

Wilesco Vintage Toy Steam Machine Shop

In the early daysof the industrial age, machine shops were powered by steam engines that drove a common overhead or floor-mounted jackshaft. Individual machines were belt driven from the central rotating shaft. Wilesco and several other companies still make sheet metal and plastic replicas of these old style shops powered by working steam engines.

Some of the tools in this shop like the black lathe and stamping press are made from hard plastic, while others like the spiral decorative wheel and man working the grinding wheel are made from painted sheet metal. An actual boiler heated by an alcohol or sterno flame heats water to provide steam to drive the horizontal steam engine that drives the shafts. Tools are available individually, so a person could set up a machine shop as large as he or she liked. The boiler, engine and tools in this case are mounted to a wooden board, and a few current Wilesco product brouchures are displayed in the foreground.

Donated by William and Carol Cox


GBN (Gebruder Bing Nurnberg) Toy Steam Machine shop

The D.R.G.M. mark on the steam cylinder stands for Deutsches Reichsgebrauchsmuster. This means it was a registered mark of the German Reich. That mark was used on products up until 1944. The engine and tools have no additional manufacturer’s marks. This steam engine is connected to a jackshaft from the flywheel. The jackshaft has pulleys to run a lathe, table saw, grinding wheel and drill press by means of wire belts. The display base with two fences made of brass was prossibly made by the owner. Our estimate is that this steam powered machine shop dates from the 1920’s.

Gebruder (meaning "brothers" in German) Bing was founded by Ignaz and Adolf Bing in 1863. Though they started as a kitchen utensil manufacturer, by the lathe 1800’s they made toys exclusively. Later known just as Bing, by 1905 they were the largest toy manufacturer in the world. Located in Nurnberg, their factory produced steam toys as well as electric trains.

Donated by Craig Libuse


Bing Toy Model Steam Engine

Circa 1930's, Manufactured by Gebrider Bing, Germany

This steam engine was a Christmas gift to a young Frank Libuse from his father in Chicago in the early 1930's. By that time the company's name had been shortened from GBN (Gebruder Bing Nurnberg) to just plain Bing. They were known for high quality toys including electric trains. An alcohol burner produces a flame that heats the water in the boiler to produce steam. The live steam powers the single cylinder vertical steam engine to spin a flywheel that could be used to run a belt to power other toy equipment. A pressure gauge, glass water level sight gauge and whistle are also included. Though a few companies still make toy live steam engines, they are now marketed as "adult collectibles" rather than toys for young people.

Courtesy of Judith Haxo


Weeden #672 Toy Steam Boiler and Engine

This Weeden engine was given to Judith Haxo's husband Francis T. Haxo when he was a child in the 1930's. Born in 1921 in North Dakota, his family moved to California in 1930. Coming from a very thrifty family, the steam engine was probably a gift from his uncle Victor Jallu. The engine came with the family to San Diego in 1954 where Francis went on to become  biologist at Scripps Institute of Oceanography until his retirement in 1988. As a grad student at Stanford in the 1940's he co-developed an oxygen-electrode to measure the oxygen output of algae which led to a better understanding of photosynthesis in algae and the role of chromatic transients.

About the Weeden Mfg. Co.—Watchmaker William Nye Weeden started the company in 1883 to compete with European manufacturers like Bing, Marklin, Doll and others as well as companies like Mamod and Bowman & Burnac in the UK. He got started when offered a contract to design a quality toy that The Youth's Companion magazine could use as a promotional give-away to promote subscriptions. The design was so clever and successful that he received an initial order of 10,000 units at one dollar each. He used the money to start the Weeden Manufacturing Company, which went on to offer a large line of engines and other toys for many years. Mr. Weeden made his own dies and molds, and, realizing their value, locked them away in a fireproof save each night. After almost 60 years, the company was eventually sold in 1942 to National Playthings which halted production of the steam engine line.

The boiler of this engine is heated by electricity rather than the usual alcohol flame, making it a marginally safer toy at the time. The other toy steam plants on display are all heated by means of a flame.


Donated by the Les Cade Family Trust

Toy electric boiler and steam engine, Model 100

Manufacturer: California Technical Toy Company, Los Angeles

This toy steam plant consists of an electrically heated boiler to produce steam to power a small steam engine. It used the older style two-prong round post electrical plug from the 1930's and is rated at 115 volts and 450 watts. Size: 11" x 6" x 8".

1.   2. 3.   4.   5.   6.   7.


Collection display courtesy of Craig Libuse


(Note: Items 6 and 7 are no longer on display in the Carlsbad Museum in order to make room for the items shown below.)

Vintage Erector Sets--What model engineer didn't play with these as a kid?

The top photo shows the display in the Craftsmanship Museum as of January, 2015.

With the demise of the A.C. Gilbert company, the Erector brand is now owned by their long-time British competitor Meccano. It is still sold under the Erector name in the USA. Meccano actually introduced a similar construction set two years before A.C. Gilbert claims to have invented it in 1903 after viewing construction on the electrification of railroads with their steel cantinary towers while riding on the train. Here are some of the sets from the 1920's to the 1950's:

1. 1927 Set No. 7-1/2 "Chassis Builder" (original owner, Frank Libuse) In original wooden box with metal tray. Includes fenders, hood and steering front axel to build a White truck.

2. Set No. 4-1/2 "Trip Hammer" set with instruction book, red metal box.

3. Set No. 10-1/2 "Amusement Park" set with instruction book, originally owned by Larry Simon.

4. Set No. 10042 "Radar Scanner" set. Purchased at an antique store in Wisconsin in the 1980's, this set has a funny inscription written in crayon on the inside. It reads, "This is Greg's, and nobody can play with this set accept (sic) him." Greg Briggs, the original owner, happened to visit the museum in April, 2016 and came across his old set. His mother had given it away when he moved out as a young man. The inscription was designed to keep his two older sisters from "messing with his stuff." He was happy to see his old set displayed in a museum.

5. Set No. 10053 "Missile Launcher" set from 1953 with "50th Anniversary" sticker on front of box. The A.C. Gilbert company was started in 1903.

6. Set No. 10182 "Motorized Helicopter and Radar Scanner" set.

7. Lionel Construction Set No. 343--Lionel tried to compete with AC Gilbert for the construction set business, but their weaker aluminum pieces were easily bent and the rivet-and-grommet fastener system was not as secure as Gilbert's nuts and bolts. The sets were only marketed in 1947 and 1948.

The rarest and most sought after Erector set is the No. 10-1/2 set that built a large steam locomotive. We have on display a reproduction copy of the instruction book.

1. 7-foot Eiffel Tower

  2. Fire truck

  3. Railroad Boxcar and Caboose

  4a.  4b.

Rare #4 set from 1914.

2016.25.1 through 2016.25.4    

Erector Set Projects

Courtesy of Gary Jarvis

The above sets illustrate how they were sold before young engineers used the parts to build either something shown in the instruction manual or something they designed themselves. The items shown here illustrate some of the things that were actually built with similar sets.

Photo #1 shows a seven-foot tall model of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France constructed entirely from Erector set components and fasteners. It is amazingly light yet very strong.

Photo #2 shows a steam fire truck pumper assembled from set components. Note that brass train wheels are used to represent the headlights.

Photo #3 shows two railroad cars--a boxcar and a caboose--that can be built to accompany a very rare set that included one of A.C. Gilbert's American Flyer engines, a loop of track, a transformer and enough components to make cars or trackside structures.

Photos #4a and 4b show a rare #4 set from 1914. The set includes all the original parts according to a parts list that is glued inside the lid of the wooden box. Even the small red cardboard boxes that hold angle pieces are present as is the tray holding the electric motor and more girders. Note the classic graphics inside the lid box too. The kids are building a giant bridge as dad looks on. Hard core collectors will typically buy several sets in order to get enough components to put together one complete set, as components were often lost or bent over the years.


Erector Set Hudson Locomotive and Tender

Courtesy of Gary Jarvis

Here you see one of the very unusual Erector Set projects, the Hudson Locomotive. The first version of this set only had the engine. A couple years later, they came out with the tender car as well. The set included a motor and a couple sections of track for displaying the completed project. The included motor was novel for the time; it could be run on battery (DC) or alternating curret (AC.)


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Other items of interest to craftsmen on display in the Carlsbad museum

There are several other items on display that are hard to categorize, but are of interest to craftsmen. This section encompasses those items. Most of the craftsmen who built these projects are covered in detail in their own sections in the on-line museum. In those cases links are provided to their pages for more detail. They are noted in this section mainly so potential visitors to the museum in California will know what they can expect to see in person.

Miniature Pub

Built by Karl Horn

Karl was an aeronautical engineer at General Dynamics in San Diego. He and his wife were active miniature enthusiasts in La Jolla back in the 70's and 80's as well as being model railroad enthusiast. The Miniature Pub was completed in 1980. Their house had many miniatures on display that they would take to local miniature shows and luncheons. Sparing no expense, they were very meticulous and many of the items inside their miniatures were custom made. As a decoration for one of the miniatures they made in 1970, they commissioned an artist to replicate a large oil painting that was in their home. The 3x2 inch painting alone cost $300. 2020.5.1
Donated by Don Brandon

Wilbur Dexter Biography

Miniature 6" South Bend Lathe

Built by Wilbur Henry Dexter

This miniature replica of a six-inch South Bend lathe was the cherished creation of Wilbur (“Bill”) Henry Dexter. This model of South Bend was his favored piece of machine equipment. The replica was most likely made in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

Wilbur’s was brought up on a farm in the early 1900’s, gaining the skills typical of the farming community at the time. He wasn’t particularly fond of school, dropping out at the end of his 8th grade year and started working as a carpenter and handyman.

He would eventually leave for California where he started his own machine shop and married his childhood sweetheart, Lillian. Later Wilbur would acquire a California State Professional License and established himself as a self-employed mechanical engineer operating under the name Dexter Laboratory. 2020.1.1      Courtesy of Leland Dexter

1/6 Scale Holbrook Model C Lathe

Built by Alfred Mellows

Initially, it was not going to be a working model but at the prodding of workmates, he decided to make the lathe work. This became a lifetime endeavor, spending time as he could, perfecting the machines features over the years. After retirement, he converted his garage into a workshop with the necessary tools to complete his ambitious project. He completed his work on the lathe only months before passing in 2003.Find out more by reading the complete article about Albert and his Holbrook Lathe. 2019.24


Puddle-Weld Sculptures
Built by Peter A Renzetti
To create his sculptures, Peter uses a jeweler’s oxy-acetylene torch to build melted puddles of welding rod drop on top of drop.
“Trust” Hi-wire act
“Hit-n-miss” engine
“Tandem” Bicycle built for 2


Stiletto - R/C LandSailing Yacht

Donated by Joe Stangl in Memory of his son, Brandon Stangl, 1989 - 2007

Joe’s son Brandon had muscular Dystrophy so he was unable to get around without his wheel chair but he and his dad would visit different locations known for their good winds for land sailing. Since the land yacht only needed a two axis controller for steering and trimming the sail, Brandon was able to sail his yacht, racing up and down the long flat stretches on various surfaces, whether man made or natural salt flats such as the El Mirage Dry Lake.

Designed and built by Robert Weber
Robert Webber, the Stiletto designer, is a three time America’s Land sailing Cup Class winner. The ¼ scale Stiletto is based on his full sized ALC yacht and able to reach speeds up to 40 mph. His latest project is the Bat2, a larger, faster, model based on the Bat 1 fuselage. You can read more at http://www.modellandyachts.com.


U.S. Capitol Building

Built by Richard Escarcega (lower right)

Richard is a technical illustrator, designer, artist and a bit of an engineer. He has designed, rendered and created logistical blueprints and components for the Space Shuttle, designed instrument control panels for Teledyne Brown Engineering, and as a freelancer he has worked on everything from nationally recognized publications, computer product packaging, and feature stories involving celebrities.

Not a model builder by profession, he had designed and built a few small scale model homes back in the 70s. Richard was inspired early on by an exhibit that depicted the future “Progress City” as it was first envisioned in the 60s by Disney and part of the “Carousel of Progress” exhibit.

Richard assembled, airbrushed and weathered the model to look authentic in miniature. Charles saw the finished model and decided that Richard would be the man for the job of building his recreation of the US Capitol building.

Donated by Charles Pedrotta (lower left)
After high school Charles, signed up to become an Air force pilot. His B-24 bomber was shot down over Germany after 17 successful missions. He was taken prisoner where he was a POW through the end of the war. After returning home Charles formed his own construction company that he operated for 45 years before retiring in Carlsbad, CA.

Paper Models
Built by David Kemp
A native San Diegan who worked as a civil engineer for San Diego picked up modeling skills from his father who built models including two major dioramas that have been on display in the Museum of Man.

David built model airplanes in his childhood, hand carved a chess set when he was 17 made of redwood and sugar pine to give the light and dark squares and pieces. Adding to his hobby accomplishments he also built wooden automata each of which had either two or three distinct motions. He began making high quality paper models in the 1960’s. 2019.16


The last photo shows the actual Long Beach Pike amusement park from the air.


"Cyclone Racer" wooden roller coaster model

Built by Richard Docken

Richard Docken and his cousin Don Woods loved roller coasters. Richard was also into HO trains and built a huge layout in his house. He also built at least three models of the "Cyclone Racer" roller coaster that was part of the Long Beach, CA Pike amusement park. It opened in 1930 and closed in 1968 in order to build Shoreline Drive, one of the streets that now hosts the annual Long Beach Grand Prix Indycar race. Shown here is his final model that is approximately 6 feet long made from thousands of pieces of balsa wood

Richard lived for roller coasters and model trains. He never married and traveled the country to ride on roller coasters as a hobby. Cousin Don Woods notes that one day the two of them rode the Long Beach coaster twelve times in a row. Richard retired from UPS in 1997 after 35 years of service and passed away in April, 2012.

The real coaster was 100' tall and had 7400 feet of track. The cars travelled at up to 50 MPH. It was built in 5 months at a cost of $140,000 in 1930. It could handle 2400 passengers per hour and over 30 million people rode on it during its lifetime. Maybe you were one.

Donated by Don Woods


1/12 scale Dorpat 9-1/2" Telescope

Built and donated by William Gould

This model duplicates all the features of the original telescope that resides in Tartu, Estonia. It was designed by Joseph von Fraunhofer and completed in 1823. The original was recently restored in Italy at a cost of $3 million and is now back on display in its original observatory in Estonia. The model is made from Ramon (a hard wood from Mexico) and colored with shoe dye. Other parts are machined from brass and steel. The model required extensive research and is accurate to the smallest detail.

To learn more about William Gould and the telescope CLICK HERE.


1/4 scale 3D printer model, Chevrolet Racing Engine

Donated by William Gould

This model was made in a rapid prototype printer from drawings by William Gould. It is formed using the FDM (Fusion Deposition Modeling) method to deposit small amounts of ABS plastic as the model is built one layer at a time in a 3D printer. The grey base is also made with this method. The very fine linkages and spark plug leads are a good demonstration of the fine detail that can be achieved with this method of rapid prototyping.


Hole Boring Bus

built by Micah Carrillo

Micah is a hobby machinist who aspires to be in the metal working trade and enjoys creating working projects in his leisure.

In this model, built as a project to sharpen his skills while adjusting to an injury, Micah wanted to create a machine with both sliding and rotational movement. The rotational movement was inspired by gun actions and the sliding movement is provided by a spring mounted underneath the carriage. When triggered the boring head slides rapidly forward while spinning.

The undercarriage is based on the body proportions of a bus and the boring head is akin to an actual tunnel borer.

Courtesy of Christopher Bathgate

Steel, Aluminum and Bronze CNC Machined Sculpture

Title (Encrypted ): SH633374451562293724

Size: 8" x 8" x 7"

Made by Christopher Bathgate

Machinst/Artist Chris Bathgate sculpts metal using modern machine shop methods.

To learn more about Chris and his work, CLICK HERE.

Miniature Mansion

Built by Karl Pohlmann

Karl, a native of Germany who lived in New Jersey most of his live, was a retired painting contractor in San Bernadino, California before moving to Escondido in 1978 after his wife’s passing. According to Karl, the project was a labor of love.

Started in 1982, the miniature house and virtually everything in it was scratch built by Karl in 1983. It was modeled after a spacious 25 room mansion where Karl worked in the mid-1930s. Without plans, his masterpiece was built entirely from his vivid recollection of the estate with its tall columns, porch swing, and manicured grounds. Karl worked on his project six hours a day, seven days a week for 18 months and upon completion was appraised at a value of $12,000 in 1983.

The roof is covered in 1,800 individually hand crafted shingles. Most of the rugs were individually woven by hand. The delicately hand carved, stained, and lacquered hardwood furniture is upholstered with fine fabrics. Hand sewn curtains hang on brass curtain rods and the windows, which actually open and close, are filled with real glass.

Built and donated by Joe Berbiglia

Gypsy Wagon by Jo Berbiglia

Scale: 1/4" = 1'

Jo Berbiglia is known in the dollhouse/miniature community for her fine work in petit point, but she also builds and collects detailed miniatures. This tiny gypsy wagon is fully detailed inside, and we have propped the roof open so museum visitors can see inside.

Built and donated by Joe Berbiglia

Bunny Birdhouse by Jo Berbiglia

Scale: 1/4" = 1'

It looks like a family of tiny bunnies has moved into a great big birdhouse. They've done a fine job of turning it into a cozy home. Fanciful works like this are what make the hobby of creating dollhouses and display rooms interesting.

CLICK HERE to see the Jan and Joe Haring dollhouse collection

Miniature Architectural Models

By George & Judy Burke

George & Judy built models for the pure satisfaction of the artistic result. Together they built for more than 30 years, adding a room onto their house to display all of the fabulous work they had created. Judy, a contract administrator, started building models while her children were in junior high school in Santa Rosa California. George, an arson investigator, joined her in the endeavor when he retired and they moved to Redding California where they also enjoyed other hobbies including camping and fishing. Judy was president of a local miniature group and they both attended many local and national events but primarily competed in local miniature competitions near home.

(Click on any photo to view a larger image.)


Child's Iron Built By Slaves

Donated by Dr. Francis Rigney

Built in the late 1700's or early 1800's, this child's iron is a small replica of the type that was heated on the wood burning stove to iron clothes. Made by blacksmiths on the plantation of a wealthy southern planter, it was presented to the little girl of the family as a gift, and has been kept in the family since then. Dr. Rigney contacted the Smithsonian to find a suitable place for the miniature iron, and they suggested he contact us. We are pleased to be able to add this interesting piece of our country's history to the collection, as it represents "miniature engineering" under most extreme circumstances. Note the very smooth, polished surface of the face of the iron that contacts the clothing in the upper right photo.

The final photo in black and white by Dr. Rigney shows in better character of the finish of the outside of the iron. It has survived over 160 years, finally bringing recognition to the slave who made it and acknowledging his craftsmanship.


On loan from the family of Marvin Johnson courtesy of his daughter, Marleen Wight

B-24 "trench art" made from a Japanese propeller.

Miniature Violin and Helicopter Rotor Mechanism

Built by Marvin Johnson

Mr. Johnson may have worked as a mechanic and wood worker and had a talent for working with his hands, but his other talent was playing the violin. An accomplished symphony violinist as well as country music fiddle player, Marvin also liked to make miniatures. During WWII he had time on his hands while stationed in China, so he cut part of an aluminum prop from a downed Japanese plane and cut and filed a B-24 Liberator bomber like the ones his squadron flew. It features a polished finish, tiny wire machine guns and four propellers that turn when you blow on them. On display for over a year, it has now been returned to the family.

He took his knowledge of and love for violins to extremes by making a scale model complete with hollow body, strings, tuning keys, bow and a hinged case. He also had an interest in helicopters and was fascinated with the complicated mechanism that allowed them to fly. Long before today's radio controlled helicopter craze he built a complete, working mechanism of the main and tail rotors from a Bell helicopter, working from plans and photos.

A US Quarter is used for size reference.

"Trench art" propeller made from crashed Japanese aircraft

Donated by Dennis A. Hodgkins

Military people often have a lot of down time when no fighting is going on. They may have skills but few tools or raw materials except what their current situation allows. Pieces of metal from downed aircraft, bullet casings or large brass shells are common materials to work with to make objects to send home or trade. This model ships propeller is about 4-1/2" in diameter and is stamped "Metal from Jap'O' Fighter, Battle of Midway '42" on one blade. On another it says "P.W. Davis Carpenter USN." We are not sure if Mr. Davis or Mr. Carpenter was the builder or if Mr. Davis was a carpenter's mate in the Navy, but the blades are very well formed and identical in shape. The sad part is that Mr. Hodgkins, the donor found this piece of art in a Goodwill store for 15 cents. We would love to know more about its history if anyone is familiar with the actual maker.

Joe Martin is seen examining the fine craftsmanship on the model Adler locomotive that was donated to the museum 11/9/09 by Szymon Klimek

The 1835 Adler Locomotive Model

Built and donated by Syzmon Klimek

The Adler (German for "Eagle") was a British-built, German steam locomotive with the wheel arrangement 2-2-2 and was the first locomotive to run successfully in Germany. It was built to order in 1835 by the British railway pioneers George and Robert Stephenson and delivered to the Bavarian Ludwigsbahn (Bayerische Ludwigsbahn) which ran between Nuremberg and Fürth. The Adler was furnished with a tender of the type 2 T 2.

The model accurately represents the original Stephenson Adler design. The brass model contains extremely delicate detail characteristic of Mr. Klimek’s work. Though accurate in proportion and detail, Mr. Klimek takes his models past the realm of model engineering and into the world or art or jewelry. The display of the model inside a wine goblet is more in character with its creation as a piece of fine art than is normaly seen as a display for the usual model locomotive. Please take the time to examine it closely and marvel at the delicacy of the construction and the perfection of the presentation.

More of Szymon Klimek’s work can be seen at www.CraftsmanshipMuseum.com/Klimek.htm or on his own web site at www.edrobiazg.com.pl (Szymon Klimek Minature Gallery). Szymon has plans to make a selection of his models available commercially soon. The Adler was donated to the Joe Martin Foundation by Mr. Klimek in November, 2009 and is on display at the Craftsmanship Museum in Vista, California. Mr. Klimek was the recipient of the Foundation’s Special Achievement Award in September, 2009.

Solar Powered Victorian Steam Engine

Built and donated by Syzmon Klimek

The engine called "Susi" is enclosed in a wine goblet and is delicately decorated with grapes and vines in keeping with the wine theme. A small solar panel powers the Victorian steam engine when illuminated with a strong light source. To start the engine the goblet must be inverted and then brought back to normal vertical position. This causes the flywheel to start moving and the engine then continues to run on a tiny current generated by the solar panel. Speed is regulated by how close or far the light source is from the panel. Video of this and some of Szymon's other engines can be seen from links on his museum web page.

(Above) Lowell Wexler with his P-40 "Warhawk"

(Below) Lowell Wexler's P-38

1/5 scale R/C model aircraft

Built by and on loan from Lowell Wexler, Oceanside, CA

P-40 Warhawk (WWII Chinese Air Force "Flying Tigers" markings) and P-38 Lightning WWII fighters.

(Above) Closer views of the detailed cockpits of the P-40 and P-38.

Built from molded fiberglass components, these large scale radio-controlled planes have a lot of cockpit and airbrushed paint detail. Gear is retractable and all the control surfaces work. Mr. Wexler also builds jet powered model aircraft.

Strutt Epicyclic Train Clock

NAWCC Gold Medal Winner, 2003

Built and donated by William R. Smith

William R. Smith is will known in the watch and clock world for his many books on how to build various clocks. He also offers a series of instructional DVD's on how to set up a shop and build clocks. This particular clock won a gold medal at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Horological Crafts Competition in 2003. The 8-day mechanism features an unusual Paradox Movement utilizing planetary gears to drive the minute and hour hands individually.

In addition to Bill Smith's award winning clock, displayed with it are two partially complete versions of the clock—full size and half size—that are currently being built by Pamela Weiss from the instructions in Mr. Smith's book.

William R. Smith is the winner of the Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year Award for 2000.

Donated by Joe Kunkler

Riley Whiting Wooden Gear Wall Clock

Riley Whiting was an established clock maker in the early 1800's in Winchester, CT. He made tall case clocks using wooden gears under his own name starting in 1819. Because most clock mechanisms were delivered to the customer by a salesman on horseback, the buyer got only the face and works and was expected to have a local carpenter make the case for the clock. Many did what you see here; that is, make a case to keep dust and dirt out of the works, but make a shelf to hang the clock on the wall rather than built a long case that includes the pendulum too. These were called "wag-on-wall" clocks. We have mounted the clock case above the clock so visitors can look from either side and see the wooden gears in action. This weight-driven pendulum clock needs winding daily, as it is a "30-hour" clock. A second weight powers the chime mechanism that rings a brass bell on the hour or at shorter intervals. Despite its age, the face of this clock still features the original hand painting, which is in very good condition. There are no broken teeth on the cherry wood gears, and the clock functions properly when mounted perfectly level.

Pendulum Wall Clock with Aluminum Gears

Built and donated by Ken Nobel

Each part of this clock was crafted from raw metal or plastic stock. The frame is made from clear Plexiglas so the movement can be observed. The gears were cut from billet aluminum. Builder Ken Nobel is a machinist and instructor, and the clock was a fixture in the Mira Costa College machine shop for 20 years, keeping time year after year. Ken made a special case hardened gear tooth cutter using the Wellman's Odontograph to cut the teeth on the larger gears, while using standard cutters he had on hand for the smaller gears. The weight is crucial to proper function of the clock, and the proper amount of lead was arrived at through much trail and error.

Model Bridgeport BRJ Milling Machine

Scale: 1:14, Built and donated by Barry Jordan

Barry Jordan usually worked in a larger (1/5) scale to build models of famous metalworking machines, but for this model he took on a special challenge. The idea was to build a machine in a smaller scale than Jerry Kieffer's 1/12 scale machine tool models, and Barry certainly succeeded with this one. The model has functional machine slides in all directions, the tiny 60:1 rotary table works and even the spindle is driven by a tiny electric motor with batteries hidden in the display base. This is every machinist's favorite display in the Vista museum.

Barry Jordan is the winner of the Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year Award for 2003.

Built by David Kucer. Courtesy of the Joe Martin Foundation.

Miniature Smith & Wesson "Volcanic" Pistol

Scale: 1:3, Built by David Kucer

David Kucer and his son Xavier carry on the fine tradition of building miniature arms. This model represents a ground-breaking design by the "Volcanic Repeating Arms Company" in 1852 to produce the first repeating pistol with self-contained cartridges. It was a big advance over the cap and ball black powder pistols then in use. The designers eventually sold the company to their largest investor, Winchester who used the lever cocking action in his rifles. The designers, Smith & Wesson went on to form another successful company under their own names. This miniature is accurate in every way down to the types of metal and heat treating processes used in the full-size version. It would be capable of firing a miniature round if one were to be made, although that probably ruin it's value as a collectible miniature due to the corrosive nature of the powder residues. Cleaning a gun this small would require the expertise of the craftsman who built it.

David Kucer was selected as the Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year for 2006

Donated by Bob Mellman

"Little .45" Miniature Colt .45 Pistol

American Miniature Gun & Cartridge Co., Hollywood, CA

This miniature replica of the famous Colt .45 Peacemaker, known as "the gun that won the West" actually fires small percussion cap-like blank ammunition. The caps are stored inside the cast plastic replica of a full-size .45 caliber bullet, which also serves to give a reference to size scale. This gun is purported to be a prototype for the manufactured version, but unfortunately the years have not been kind to the diecast cylinder, which has swollen and cracked and will no longer rotate in the frame. This was common on others like it as well.

Also referred to as the Frontier "45" in much of its litereature, it is too nice to be a toy but cannot be considered a true miniature either because it does not exactly duplicate the function of the original Colt design. Made in the 1950's, its cylinder rotates and it has a half and full cock position. It has a flip-down, side loading gate and spring-loaded ejector rod like the original. Rather than a pivoting trigger, the entire trigger guard moves forward when cocked and is pulled back to release the hammer. There is simply no room inside the trigger guard for a finger to fit, so this seems a logical solution. The rarest of these were offered with gold plating and custom engraving but all are fairly hard to find now.

Miniature .22 Single shot Pistol

Made by and on loan from Geof Spehar, Huntington Beach, CA

This tiny pistol was made in 1966 when Geoff was 18. The single shot pistol has a frame that was made from a piece of cast iron from a broken engine block. The barrel was made from a master cylinder piston. Pins are made from welding rod. Only a drill press and file were used. The handles are carved from Jarrah wood. It fires .22 cal (6 mm) starter pistol caps or BB caps.

Miniature Replica Xythos 2mm Pinfire Pistol

Made by and on loan from Geof Spehar, Huntington Beach, CA

The smaller pistol is a model of a 2mm Xythos Pinfire pistol, a miniature gun that is made in Austria. Geof’s model was made in 1968 from steel and has ebony handles. Geof borrowed a real one from a friend and duplicated the parts. It is a non-firing replica with six chambers in the revolver cylinder. It cycles when you pull the trigger, but the mechanism is not made exactly like the original. The original fires tiny 2mm caps and also flares when using a special attachment that goes on the end of the barrel.

Miniature 2mm Pinfire Berloque Pistol

Made by Franz Pfanni, Austria

This small pistol fires pinfire "caps" that make a noise but do not fire a projectile. It was given to the donor when he was one year old as a novelty memento of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Franz Pfanni started making Berloque or "watch fob" pistols in 1897. A similar pistol is described in Bob Urso's book on 2mm pistols, Tiny Guns, and there is a photo of a similar model on the cover.

Donated by Don Gahagan, Valley Center, CA

On loan courtesy of Pamela Weiss

Working Half Scale Gatling Gun

(.22 Cal.), Built by Pamela Weiss

This working replica of a 10-barrel Gatling gun was built from plans available in many model engineering magazines. It took about 2000 hours and a variety of machining, welding and woodworking skills to build all the parts. It fires .22 long rifle bullets at up to 600 rounds per minute if you can crank the handle fast enough. About 300 rounds have been test fired through it.

Model Artillery Cannons

Built by Joe Haring/Donated by Jan Haring

The late Joe Haring was a retired US Marine and yachtsman. He also enjoyed model building and turned these three artillery cannons from brass using a Sherline lathe. The two on the left are field pieces while the one on the right would have been used in a fixed position in a fortress. It has rails to take up for recoil and the rail assembly can be pivoted left and right on casters for aiming. Elevation is adjusted by a screw support at the rear of the barrel.

Joe is also an accomplished dollhouse builder. CLICK HERE to see the work done by him and his wife Jan on detailed dollhouses that are now on permanent display in the Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA.

Verge Twister


Roger's Display

On loan courtesy or Roger L. Ronnie

Engraved Watchmaking Tools

Built by Roger Ronnie

Gun engraver Roger Ronnie of South Dakota enjoys making watchmaking tools as a hobby. The brass tools are for specialized tasks required in the fine adjustment and construction of watch parts, but he takes them a step further by applying intricate engraving to almost every surface. The first item shown is called a "Verge Twister." It's purpose is to offset the "flag" on a verge to the proper number of degrees to regulate the escapement. The other is an "Oiler" or a storage container for the rare and expensive whale eye gland oil used for lubrication. The lid keeps out contamination, and small tool with a fine gold tip is used to transfer just a tiny drop of oil to the right place in the watch. These tools have been featured in horological magazines covers that are normally reserved only for fine watches or clocks.

Some of Roger's hand engraving tools have also been added to his display.

Roger Ronnie was the Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the year for 2004.

More photos of his work and Ron Remsberg's story can be seen on his museum page.

Matchstick sculptures

Built and donated by Ronald D. Remsberg, Vista, CA

Ron Remsberg builds complicated structures from simple materials. Matchsticks can be purchased in bundles of 2000 from a company in Canada before the match tip is applied. A former Convair aeronautical engineer and builder of free-flight model aircraft, Ron uses thousands of these sticks and Elmer's glue to assemble models of some of the world's most famous landmarks and structures. Here we see Notre Dame Cathedral (33-1/2" L x 13-38" W x 24" T), the Taj Mahal (24" square x 16" T), the Eiffel Tower (28" T x 10-3/4" square base), Big Ben (23-1/2" T x 5-3/4" square base) and a steam sidewheel riverboat (30" L x 3-1/4" W x 12-1/2" T). Ron has built about a dozen such models since starting in 1998. Though Ron has slowed down a little since he lost one eye, the structures remain very square and precise. He says building the projects is a great tension reliever.

Four more matchstick sculptures were donated in July, 2010 by Ronald Remsburg. These include the following:

Semi truck cab: 18"L x 9-3/4"T x 6-1/4" W

Dutch Windmill: 26"T x 15"W (Diagonal)

The Empire State Building: 17"T, Base 3" x 5"

CN Toronto Tower: 44"T x 11-1/4"W (diagonal)

Built and donated by Ronald D. Remsberg

London's Tower Bridge: 71" long—Drawbridge sections in middle open. Almost 10,000 matchsticks used and over 4 months of building time to complete. Completed April, 2012.

FDNY ladder truck: 14" long—ladder platform rotates, ladder extends, support arms extend. Completed May, 2012.

Custom made nose gear for R/C aircraft

Built and donated by Bob Seigelkoff

This steerable nose gear was designed to be installed on a 1/4 scale flying model of the Northrup P-61 Black Widow twin engine bomber produced during WWII. Most components are machined from billet aluminum. The "fender" is fiberglass.


Donated by Mike Sheehy

Autographed WWII Fighter Prints

These large framed prints hang in the museum's conference room. They are artist and pilot signed prints.

• P-38 Lightning—"American Fighter Aces, Series 2, 4th victory at Bougainville, April 18, 1943" by Roy Grimwell. Print #237 of 1250.

• P-47 Thunderbolt—"Wolfpack leader downs five" by Jay Crandall. Print #1 of 100

Engineer's tools from the 17th century to modern times are included in a display featuring slide, mechanical and early electronic calculators.

The earliest calculator—an abacus was added to the collection in February, 2013 and was donated by Ron Marvin.

Calculators and Computers from the Past

While the modern generation that grew up with electronic calculators may be as puzzled by the function of slide rules and mechanical calculators as they are with rotary dial telephones, an generations of mathematicians and engineers made use of these tools to build the skyscrapers, bridges and airplanes of our past. William Oughtred and others developed the slide rule in the 17th century based on the emerging work on logarithms by John Napier. They were used up into the late 1960's when they were replaced by electronic calculators.

This display includes slide rules by Pickett, K&E and Castel as well as a round version. At the top end of the calculator market was the Curta Mechanical Calculator. The one in the display belonged to Joe Martin's late partner Carl Hammons and is new in the box with the original instructions. Also included was one of the very early electronic calculators from Texas Instruments—a real time saver that included a function for calculating square root at the push of a button. A history of the slide rule and how the log functions work is also included in the display.

Of course, the earliest mechanical calculator was the abacus. The photo at the left shows one counting the numbers 1 through 9 from left to right. This one was made in Japan in about 1957 and still includes the original box and an instruction book on its use.

For modern reference, the display now includes a timeline of the development of the personal computer including an early SOL computer from the 1970's used by Sherline, an old example of wired core RAM and several examples of storage media from 5-1/4" and 3-1/2" floppys to Zip disks, a CD, DVD and finally a thumb drive showing the ever-increasing storage capacity.

CNC Machined Dominos

Built and donated by Robert Dodes.

This attractive set of dominos was made from billet and bar stock 6061 Aluminum using computer numeric controlled (CNC) production equipment. The shapes are first machined to size and then sent out for anodizing. An anodized finish on aluminum is extremely tough and can be applied in a choice of several colors. Finally, the parts are put back in the milling machine and a ball end mill is used to create the “dots.” Another tool is used to put the bevel on the edges, exposing the bright aluminum under the blue anodized finish.

For a discussion of CNC and Craftsmanship see our home page

Giant Container Ship Diesel Piston Ring

Donated by Kelsey Barrion

The R.J. Pfeiffer is the flagship of the Matson Lines container ships, named after the late president of the company. It is powered by a giant MAN 8L80MC diesel engine putting out over 33,000 horsepower. Kelsey Barrion is a marine engineer who repairs these engines when they are in port and monitors and maintains the engines at sea. She got started in this field over a decade ago when she attended the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) and completed a four-year degree in Marine Engineering and Shipyard Management that included one year at sea as a cadet on US-flagged merchant vessels. She was kind enough to donate one of the R.J. Pfeiffer’s big cast iron piston rings so you can compare it to more common size automobile piston rings down to the tiny ones we make for the engines you see in the Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum. Her diminutive size is not the disadvantage it might seem when working on these big engines, because no matter how strong you are, the parts are so big that mechanical assistance is needed to accomplish most tasks anyway. A single piston weighs almost as much as a car.

The MAN 8L80MC engine

The monster 8-cylinder diesel engine produces 33,680 horsepower at only 88 RPM, which is its optimum operating speed. This will push the huge ship along at a speed of almost 23 knots. The fuel is not conventional diesel fuel like you can buy at a gas station. That is used only when travelling near shore, as it is relatively clean burning. Once out of territorial waters a much cruder, thicker fuel is used that is almost the consistency of asphalt when not heated. It must be heated with steam to become liquid enough to be pumped through the fuel injectors, but unlike you might expect, it has more energy potential in it when burned than more refined diesel fuels. However, it is also much more abrasive and results in more wear on injector nozzles and piston rings which require replacement more often. Even so, the fuel offers so much more power at a far lower cost than regular diesel fuel that it is economically worth the higher maintenance.

Interesting Miniature Commercial Products

Courtesy of Craig Libuse

Zero 2000 Pinhole Camera

Zero Image Co., Hong Kong

Pinhole cameras have no glass lens at all. Instead, light is allowed to pass through a tiny hole to expose the film. The image projected through the pinhole is seen upside-down projected on a plane behind the pinhole. The smaller the hole, the sharper the image, but the longer the exposure time required. This same principle—a piece of paper with a pinhole in it—can be used to safely view the sun during an eclipse by projecting its image (upside-down) onto another piece of paper where it can be safely viewed rather than looking directly at the sun. Known as a "camera obscura," this device was used as far back as Leonardo Da Vinci.

This particular camera takes 120 size film. it is the deluxe model that features a remote shutter release fitting and exposure calculation dial. it is made form fine wood with highly polished lacquer finish.

Donated by Bob Mellman

Yashica Autoron Miniature Spy Camera

Designed along the lines of the famous Minox spy camera of WWII vintage, this tiny camera was introduced in 1965 by Yashica (now Kyosera). It is slightly larger than the Minox but uses the same 8 x 11 mm film cassette and has an automatic exposure meter. The focus on the Yashinon f2.8 18 mm 4-element lens is fixed. A flash attachment and filter are also included as is a sample roll of film.


Citizen 2.5" LCD Pocket Television

In about 1983 the Citizen Watch Company of Japan offered a tiny black and white portable TV. It featured a 2.54" picture size and weighed only 7.15 ounces with 4 AAA batteries. The Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen was lit by ambient light from behind and viewed in a mirror. It could receive both VHF and UHF bands using its built-in, extendable antenna. Shortly after its introduction, small color TV’s became available, so this black and white version quickly faded from the market. A few years ago a switch was made to digital High Definition TV signals, so this analog model will no longer pick up broadcast signals. Nevertheless, it is a good example of the rapidly advancing state of miniature engineering in electronics during the 1980’s.

Donated by Rose Goehner

Donated by Sean Wilmut

Linear to Rotational Kinetic Energy Transference System—also known as an "Engineer's Top"

Made by Magic Touch Associates, New York, NY, Circa 1969,

Proving once again that there is no concept too simple to be made incomprehensible by a good engineer, this item with the fancy name is actually just a kid's spinning top. The beautifully machined and balance components are housed in a handsome box with each component labeled. The best part is the booklet by Richard A. Gordon that accompanies the top, explaining in technical language, scientific formulas, complex charts and dimensioned diagrams over 24 pages the kinetic and aerodynamic principles behind the function of a top. It is tongue-in-cheek overkill at its best, but it is also done with great skill and in high quality.

Computer Memory Toroids/Ampex FA164 Core Memory

Toroids made and donated by Jerry Hjeltness, core memory courtesy of Joe Martin

Illustrating the first computer RAM

The large component in the lower right of the photo is capable of storing just 4 KB of memory. Ridiculously small by today's standards, that was state-of-the-art in the early days of computing. The earliest form of writeable Random Access Memory (RAM), the Magnetic Core Memory (Ferrite-Core Memory) was invented in 1951 by An Wang at Harvard University's Computation Lab and Jay Forrester at MIT.

Core memory used the magnetic properties of materials to give them a similar functionality to transistors. They stored their information using the polarity of tiny magnetic ceramic rings (toroids) with wires threaded through them 90° to each other. Unlike today's RAM, core memory could store information even after the power was turned off.

The small circle on the information plaque accompanying the core memory chip highlights two of the actual toroids that were used in the memory. Jerry Hjeltness of Escondido, CA was one of the first to produce tooling to punch out these tiny donuts using a Stokes press designed to make pills. A powdered metal was fused into the donut shape during the punch press process. They were made one at a time to tolerances of 50 millionths of an inch.

This core memory was purchased at a scrap yard by Joe Martin many years ago. It has thousands of tiny wires in a bundle protruding from the back. Imagine trying to install it or trace down a problem in its function...all for 4 KB of memory. This component illustrates the craftsmanship that was required to physically produce the first memory before the use of the silicon chips we have today.



Wimshurst Influence Machine

Donated by the Joe Martin Foundation

The Wimshurst influence machine is an electrostatic generator, which is a machine for generating high voltages. It was developed between 1880 and 1883 by British inventor James Wimshurst (1832–1903).

It has a distinctive appearance with two large contra-rotating discs mounted in a vertical plane, two crossed bars with metallic brushes, and a spark gap formed by two metal spheres.

These machines belong to a class of electrostatic generators called influence machines, which separate electric charges through electrostatic induction, or influence, not depending on friction for their operation. In a Wimshurst machine, the two insulated discs and their metal sectors rotate in opposite directions passing the crossed metal neutralizer bars and their brushes. An imbalance of charges is induced, amplified, and collected by two pairs of metal combs with points placed near the surfaces of each disk. These collectors are mounted on insulating supports and connected to the output terminals. The positive feedback increases the accumulating charges exponentially until the dielectric breakdown voltage of the air is reached and an electric spark jumps across the gap.

Effects like this were often used on old science fiction movies like “Frankenstein” to create large sparks in the laboratory setting. When the two counter-rotating disks are turned with the handle a static charge is stored in the Leyden jars which is eventually discharged across the gap between the two large spheres. The greater the distance between the spheres, the larger and louder the spark.


Wankel engine demonstration

Donated by Louis Chenot

The Wankel engine is a type of internal combustion engine using an eccentric rotary design to convert pressure into a rotating motion instead of using reciprocating pistons. Its four-stroke cycle takes place in a space between the inside of an oval-like epitrochoid-shaped housing and a rotor that is similar in shape to a Reuleaux triangle but with sides that are somewhat flatter. The very compact Wankel engine delivers smooth high-rpm power. It is commonly called a rotary engine, though this name applies also to other completely different designs. It is the only internal combustion engine invented in the twentieth century to go into production.

The engine was invented by German engineer Felix Wankel. He received his first patent for the engine in 1929, began development in the early 1950s at NSU, completing a working prototype in 1957. NSU then licensed the concept to companies around the world, which have continued to improve the design.

This demonstration was prepared by the Ingersol Rand Corporation to give to potential customers for their big industrial engines that used a rotary design. This engine is a two-rotor design with one rotor behind the other. Turning the crank you can see the unusual motion of the rotor. The engine has few moving parts and is smooth and powerful for its size, although low speed torque is not a strong point. Only Mazda still uses the engine design in a production car, the RX8 sports car.

The museum features several miniature rotary engines including model airplane engines. Ask a docent or manager to point them out.


Miniature Hohner Harmonica

Donated by Rose Goehner

This inexpensive but playable version of the tiny Hohner "Little Lady" is meant more as a decoration than a serious musical instrument; however, it does play an entire octave of eight notes in the key of C. Four notes are played on brass reeds by blowing and the other four by drawing air in through the four openings. It is attached to a key ring but can also be worn on a necklace or chain. About the length of a paper clip, they could probably also be used as earrings. The upscale German Hohner version has engraved scroll work on the brass plate, pearwood center chambers and is known as the "Little Lady." It costs about 10 times as much as this Chinese made version.


Donated by Les Cade Family Trust      

Justrite Brass Caver/Miner Carbide lamp

Though Les Cade did not build this lamp, it was part of his engine collection as a curiosity and piece of history. It is in very excellent condition.

Carbide lamps, or acetylene gas lamps, are simple lamps that produce and burn acetylene (C2H2) which is created by the reaction of calcium carbide (CaC2) with water. They were used to illuminate buildings, as lighthouse beacons, and as headlights on motor-cars and bicycles. Portable acetylene gas lamps, worn on the hat like this one or carried by hand, were widely used in mining in the early twentieth century. They are still employed by cavers, hunters and cataphiles.

A mining or caving lamp has calcium carbide placed in a lower chamber, called the generator. The upper reservoir is then filled with water. A threaded valve or other mechanism is used to control the rate at which the water is allowed to drip into the chamber containing the calcium carbide. By controlling the rate of water flow, the production of acetylene gas is controlled. This, in turn, controls the flow rate of the gas and the size of the flame at the burner, and thus the amount of light it produces.

This type of lamp generally has a reflector behind the flame to help project the light forward. An acetylene gas powered lamp produces a bright, broad light. Many cavers prefer this type of unfocused light as it improves peripheral vision in the complete dark. The reaction of carbide with water produces a fair amount of heat independent of the flame.

When all of the carbide in a lamp has been reacted, the carbide chamber contains a wet paste of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide). This is emptied into a waste bag and the chamber can be refilled.


Other Projects on display by featured craftsmen:

In addition to the above projects, a number of craftsmen featured in the on-line museum have contributed work
that is on display for visitors to the Carlsbad Museum. Here are some of the projects and links to their sections:

• The lifetime steam and Stirling engine collection of Rudy Kouhoupt

• Miniature steam and compressed air engine projects—Scotty Hewitt

• The Miniature Engineering Museum IC engine collection—Paul and Paula Knapp

• The 1:32 scale Manitowoc Lift Crane built by museum volunteer Larry Simon

• The miniature steam engine and parts for other extremely miniature models by Jerry Kieffer

• Electroformed NASCAR "Goodyear Gold Car" trophy model cars and IndyCar model—Michael Dunlap

• The model airplane engine collection of the Joe Martin Foundation honoring early engine designers

• Miniature flaked stone arrowheads—Daniel White

• Miniature woodworking tools ("Original Rabbit Plane" and scale Mayo Patent plow plane)—Paul Hamler


New Submissions Welcomed

If you have additional information on a project or builder shown on this site that your would like to contribute, please e-mail mecm@craftsmanshipmuseum.com. We also welcome new contributions. Please see our page at www.CraftsmanshipMuseum.com/newsubmit.htm for a submission form and guidelines for submitting descriptive copy and photos for a new project.


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please contact mecm@craftsmanshipmuseum.com.


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