About 18 months ago, a classic Marshall Britannia Steam Engine came out of storage in the hope of being steamed up and put to work. This Steam Engine was beautifully restored by one of our partners and is now nicknamed Antony’s Steam Engine. A group of steam and antique machinery enthusiasts in Maitland NSW, agreed to look after the machine and put it on working display a few times a year. To see this piece of machinery at work is simply wonderful as it was the height of mechanical devices in its day. It’s all of 4.5t in weight and puts out only a few horse power, but they are draft horses. This can be deceptive, however if you think about power as the ‘rate work gets done’ this machine can get a lot done – slowly! Unlike a steam train this machine was not designed to carry large quantities of fuel and water or include a large pressurised boiler. That meant it could be smaller and easier to operate. A team of horses could tow it to a convenient pile of timber to be used as fuel. A small drum of water placed alongside the machine was all the water it required as it has its own pump to lift the water into the boiler. As such, it could be placed next to an obliging dam and dispense with the drum. The spent steam condensate then ran back into the drum to complete the cycle.
Maitland recently hosted ‘Steam Fest’ where this little machine was put to work powering a stationary hay baler.