Wilesco produced this vintage toy steam machine shop model. In the early days of 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. Other pieces, 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 brochures are displayed in the foreground.

A vintage toy steam machine shop by Wilesco.

Exhibit added: May 31, 2011 - Last modified: June 2, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship