Ever since I was a boy, I was in awe of the working mechanical models to be seen in the pages of Model Engineer magazine or on television programmes like Bob Symes' Model World. In 1999 I managed to acquire both a daughter and a lathe, and against all the odds started my journey in model engineering.
You can buy my books including the Mini-Lathe, Norden: Building a Victoirian Steam Engine and The Home Workshop Dictionary using the links below:
Hardback and Paperback Books
Ebooks and Kindle
Norden is a model of a Victorian vertical stationary steam engine that was one of several left for scrap in the 1940s. It is based on a brief note in Model Engineer magazine. I worked out all the missing details and made my own castings.
Nordern in Action
Norden as originally completed.
Although I had many of the dimensions, I had to work out lots of tiny details. I tried to follow traditional construction, such as using proper straps and cotters for the connecting rod bearings.
Some details of the crankshaft of Nordern
The build was written up for Model Engineer, including fully detailed drawings and a great detail of how I 'filled the gaps' and appeared in even numbered issues of ME from 4454 to 4472.
I suppose this makes me a model engineer...
Some time after completing the model, I discovered the engines of John Chadwick, including one preserved by the Northern Mill Engine Society. I am quite pleased that my model isn't too far removed from these 'real' engine and the original of Norden was surely a John Chadwick engine?
A Victorian advert for Chadwick Engines
If you want to build a model of Norden, the castings are available from Blackgates Engineering (my patterns, but I have no financial connection). The castings could also be used to model various other styles of engine - I plan to make a four-column vertical engine with my spare set.
A full set of Norden castings
I was never very happy with my 'rough and ready' concrete base - but I discovered a source of suitable scale 'sandstone flags' and just a small packet of these enabled me to transform the setting of the engine. That's where the story of Nordern ends for now.
Norden on its flagstone base
- Category: Model Engineering
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