Steam in the Family


I began my collection when my father and I decided to get my Great Grandfather Edward Benjamin Dake's vertical steam engine running again after many years of non use. He was just 17 years old when he built this engine. While looking for parts and ideas on the Internet I discovered that there were many models available to build, recondition or purchase complete. After working on this engine, see the details further down this page, I decided to purchase and engine to build.

I purchased a PM Research #1 engine to build from a kit. It came as raw stock and castings that had to be machined. I taught myself to use my fathers lathe and milling machine. Then he decided to give his "Smithy machine" to me as he was not really using it. What a thrill it is to machine something like this and then see it run successfully. I have purchased many engines since then and made many repairs as well as built two other engines from scratch. Who knows where I will go next with this hobby.


Dake Vertical Engine Built by E.B. Dake

My Great Grandfather Edward B. Dake built this model vertical engine from scratch in 1880. He shaped the necessary wood patterns then poured the metal in a sand mold to cast the pieces he needed. This included the cylinder, tower and other parts. Then he machined the rest of the parts to enable him to have a working double acting steam engine. This was used in a small launch according to my father. The specifications are as follows: Bore 1 1/2", Stroke 2 1/2", Height 12", Flywheel 7" in diameter. My father had this engine at his home for many years. It had a very small solid flywheel that was not original and it would not run. I have acquired the engine recently and have fashioned some rings as there were none. It orginally had rings made probably from packing material as the grove for the rings is rounded rather than the normal square grove. I machined a proper size flywheel from a casting provided by PMR. It does run as you can see in the video, but not as good as I would like it. More work will be necessary in the future. I added all of the brass pipe as well as the valve and oiler. The base outside the base that came with it were added by me.

The 1880 E. B. Dake Model Steam Engine today.
E. B. Dake 1880 Model running on 35 psi of air

This 1880 model has been in the family as long as I can remember. My father had a Marklin engine as a child in the late 20's. His engine is shown on the Marklin page if you wish to see it. I have always been interested in mechanical things but never had the time or the desire to work on these steam engines until I retired a few years ago. I now have the time and have enjoyed repairing and building a few engines. I have also purchased many of the engines in my collecting from eBay or other sources around the world. I have been fortunate to have a few people contact me from this web site and offer engines for sale. I am always looking for something new and different to add to my steam collection.


Dake Square Piston Steam Engine

This is not a model but is the real thing!

My Great Grandfathers brother was William F. Dake and he invented the Dake Steam Engine. It is a double reciprocating square piston steam engine that was patented in 1888 and manufactured by the Dake Corporation from 1887 until about 1950. It was used as a hoisting and steering engine on ships as well as in mines for doing heavy work. This engine won an award at the Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and also was used in building the Panama Canal. It is a compact engine as you can see from the photos and drawings below. I would like to find a working model of this engine to add to my collection so I can share it with others. None of our immediate family ever worked for Dake Corp., but William F. Dake was a relative and that always sparks an interest. If you are interested in more information on this engine go to the Muskegon Hertitage Museum web site.

Pulley diameter is 20" the case holding the piston assembly is 16" x 20" outside dimensions

Dake Steam Engine _ Model 3 1/2 of _7 horsepower. This view shows how the internal parts work
We have added a pulley to this engine so you can see something moving when we run it.


Dake Model Steam Engine

I do not own this engine. I am featuring a photo and video for interest while I look for a Dake Model to purchase or build myself.

This engine is a model built by Bob Jorgensen many years ago. He built many model steam engines, but this one intrigues me the most, for obvious reasons. Bob's son Pat says that "The Dake is the smoothest running of all of Bobs engines, You can check out more about Bob and his engines on the site his son set up: http://jorgensensteam.com/

Below is a very short video of Bobs Dake engine.

Would you be interested in owning a Dake Engine Model? If so contact Allan as I am working with a machine shop to produce a small quantity of them.

I do not have much information yet but expect to have some completed by early 2010.

These will be manufactured with a water jet and CNC from CAD Drawings by Pat Jorgensen based on his Dads model and on the original Dake Engine set of drawings.


About Allan Dake

I am a retired middle school teacher and a technology coordinator for the Willow Run School District. As a retiree I have more time to follow up on this hobby. Please feel free to email me with questions about this collection or any other steam questions you may have. I am now the Director of the Muskegon Heritage Museum, a volunteer position.

You can see that there is a history of steam engines in the family and I love to take things apart and put them back together. So this was a natural for me to get into steam engines collecting, repairing and building.

To see an article from the local paper about Allan click here.

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