A Stirling engine powers this small fan. Before electricity was commonly available in rural areas, there was no air conditioning or even many fans to keep cool. The invention of the Stirling engine changed that. Using the heat differential from one part of the engine to another, just a candle flame was sufficient to turn a fan.

Mr. Petersen created a vast array of projects over his lifetime, ranging from miniature engines to hand-cranked animations and more. He built functional miniatures like a 1/3 scale Gatling gun or a 1/4 scale Case steam tractor, but he also built mechanical creations for the fun and enjoyment of his family. When Birk passed away in 2015, his family graciously donated over 150 items from his collection for display at the Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum, where they are currently on display. We thank the Petersen family for sharing his extensive collection, which demonstrates the broad interests and many talents of Birk Petersen.

Exhibit added: May 7, 2016 - Last modified: August 31, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship