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Live Steam Models
Edmar Mammini
Live steam Engineering is the most perfected out of all the others Model-making activities. It is close to being classified as a work of art.      In order to perform it, one needs to be more than a model maker, you must be an artisan, you must have great patience and skillfulness.  Meaning that the individual must master the art from top to bottom. For this type of model engineer you need a good level of knowledge in mechanics, metal shaping, various types of soldering and painting;   accuracy and steadiness is vital to the success of the end product.

Steam model originated in England during the nineteenth century, attained its success peak after the Second World War and it is in these days at the declining phase. Steam powered toys date back as far as the 1930’s and 1960’s, but not with the same level of quality as today. It is a typical activity of the English speaking people, although it is less practiced by other peoples mainly in France, they still possess elegant models.

There are four firms in England and two in France that supply material in order to build this type of steam engines. It is thus evident that the market is very restricted. In the past there were more experts in this field. However at the moment, there are possibly only about five hundred people worldwide that are capable of doing such type of work.

The material available for those who want to have an adventure consists of: plants with complete drawings, many sheets of blue print, a descriptive manual   explaining how to use the parts, a collection of photographs of both the original and model, characteristics of the performance, guidelines on how to execute the tests and the pattern of colors in which the originals were painted, either in a descriptive form or in the catalogue of real colors.

The artisan needs to have the following equipment: mechanical lathe, if possible with a gear box, miller, bench drill, ribbon saws for metals, painting equipment, soft and hard soldering equipment. Handcraft tools such as saw for metals and jeweler saw, drill set of 0,4 up to 6 mm from tenth to tenth millimeters, taps and dices from 1 to 10 mm or equivalent in inches, always with a fine thread  and if possible from the following patterns: BA, Tury, ME and cycle.  Only the fine threads.  The SAE or Withworth shell not be used.

The model that is illustrated is known as “Allchin” a classic from the English model engineer and it represents, the finest existence of a traction engine. It’s the agricultural version, it also exists in the groundwork version and in the urban one, which were known as steam  roller or compactors cylinders. Only the urban version existed in Brazil and is still found in some inland town square as a monument or as a curios steam car. One of them is a rare piece that was used to tar the city at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Mr. Edmar Mammini constructed the illustrated model between 1995 and 1998. This model was selected because it had an English pattern of work quality. It can be better explained in the sense that, in England when you say that you have built an “Allchin” you will be regarded as someone that has reached the top of model making, at the same level as the person who constructed the Britannia (a locomotive) , but this art piece weighs 150 kg and “Allchin” only weighs 35 kg. This makes a great difference in terms of weight, for someone who always makes models in his own workshop without  help of  someone.

The model was constructed with the above mentioned materials, only part of the castings came from England, the majority were done in the model workshop in São Paulo.   The complete kit was not acquired, not to reasons relating to the price, but because of the inconvenience of the kit´s weight.

The total weight is about 50 kg. that includes the castings and the boiler´s main tube that is in copper and with a uncommon measure that does not exist in Brazil, 3” and ¾ “ .The kit and plants cost approximately 2.000,00 US$, and a ready-made machine has already attained the incredible amount of 47.000 US$ in an auction at Sotheby´s in New York as a museum art piece.

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