Rudy Kouhoupt was fond of using found objects as the basis for some of his projects. In this example, he used a brass vase from an antique store as the frame for a coke bottle style steam engine. Having a cylinder bore of 7/8”, and a piston stroke of 1-1/4”, this ornate double-acting steam engine is both attractive and powerful.

All parts were fabricated, except the frame of the engine, which Rudy machined from a cast brass bud vase. It took some interesting milling machine work to make the engine from a vase! This steam engine can be seen running on compressed air while on display.

One of the first large donations to the Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum was the collection of famed model engine builder Rudy Kouhoupt. Rudy’s niece, Susan Alvaro, was kind enough to donate his entire lifetime engine collection for display at the grand opening of the museum in 2006. After retiring as a chemist, Rudy had a second career building engines and writing magazine articles documenting the process. Many people have built his models, but we have the honor of displaying all of his original prototypes. Rudy’s collection includes scale model engines, locomotives, tractors and more. Additionally, thirteen of Rudy’s model steam engines are hooked up to run on compressed air to demonstrate their function. 

Exhibit added: May 20, 2006 - Last modified: June 4, 2024

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship