Heyday of the Stirling Hot Air Engine
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Another of Wesley’s favorites is one he made himself: an engine used to power fountains used in early fish aquariums. “Decades ago, aquariums were a status symbol in Germany. Before electricity, the water in fish aquariums had to be stirred by hand,” Wesley explains. “Louis Heinrici was the unrivalled market leader in these ‘salon fountains’ as they were referred to in 1880. His hot-air engine took care of the need to stir the water.”
Small hot air engines were also used to bring toys to life, particularly elegant, high quality toys. A treasured piece in Wesley’s collection is a miniature workshop produced by Jensen Steam Engine Mfg. Co., Jeannette, Pa., complete with a drill press, sharpeners, table saws and turning lathes. Wesley sometimes uses a German-made Carette hot air model engine to run the tools.
Wesley hosted a regional Stirling gathering in 2010. “Through this hobby, I have made so many new friends, not only in the U.S. but all over the world,” he says. “They tell me, ‘stop in any time, you are always welcome’ and my reply is the same to them.” FC
Curious? See a Stirling-powered Jost hot air fan and a Ky-Ko hot air fan in motion.
For more information:
–Contact Wesley Bosch via email at Wesley_bosch@yahoo.com.
–Stirling Engine Society
–Atwater (Minn.) Threshing Days, Sept. 8-9, 2012: The Atwater show serves as an unofficial regional gathering of hot air engine enthusiasts, including Wesley Bosch, who sets up an extensive display there.
Renae B. Vander Schaaf is a freelance writer living in northwest Iowa on an actual working farm. She enjoys writing about agriculture, rural life and history. Contact her at email@example.com.
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