This 2-cylinder oscillating steam engine was built by Les Cade. The 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). This particular engine has a 4-spoke, 2.5″ flywheel.

Oscillating cylinder steam engines are mainly used in toys and models, but have also 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.

Exhibit added: March 2, 2011 - Last modified: March 30, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship