Inside the Collection

A. A. Stewart model engines

Model Traction Engine
Collection, Powerhouse Museum

Model steam engines can be very engaging, especially those carefully engineered to run on steam or, less authentically but more conveniently, on compressed air. The hobby of making model engines has long supported clubs, magazines, suppliers and competitions, and lately it has spawned dedicated websites offering kits, tools, projects and tips.

This very nicely detailed model of a traction engine is both visually attractive and evocative of a time when this type of engine did much of the heavy work on farms and in rural industries. While we don’t know who made it, we do know it was once owned by Sydney businessman Albyn Athol Stewart. Having compiled a world-class collection of models, he offered them to the Museum, first as loans and later by purchase.

A good proportion of the Museum’s acquisition budget was spent on the A A Stewart collection between 1938 and 1962. Was it worth it?

To answer that question, just look into the faces of visitors looking intently at steam models during a visit to our collection store or enjoying our display at events such as Maitland’s annual Steamfest. This lovely traction engine model is particularly popular with both adults and children.

Debbie Rudder

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