Stoking the steam, one engine at a time…
Machinist working on drill press
Stuart Turner logo
  • © 2018 Steve Allen Contact Me 0

LETTERSDrop me a line

Drop Me a Line

Hi there,
I have received a few letters from you viewers out there, for which I thank you.
The subjects you cover are many and some might be of interest to others out there.
SO for those containing information of wider interest I will be popping them up on this

Twin Victoria Oiler

Twin Victoria Big end oiler.

Are there drawings available for the oiler on the big end of this engine?  Thanks.




Hi George,
A closer image.
You can see that this is a representation of the original style oiler but is incorrect in several details.



Hi there George, 
These oilers were quite popular on real engines as the oil pot was stationary and the feed can be regulated. The oil drips into the round bedpan like receiver, this has a tube that runs down to the big end, the oil being forced under pressure by centripetal force(centrifugal). At the scale of the Stuart Victoria’s they would be pretty tricky to manufacture and are probably for show as the connecting pipe thinness would be very restrictive for oil flow. As well as it being hard to manufacture the internal oil pathways. I certainly havnt seen any plans but I find that if you are trying to replicate a real life feature it is often better to source images of the real thing and work out the dimensions yourself.
A closer look and I notice that it is missing key parts and thus is for display only. Check out the photo below.


The oil jar sits on the rail, this feeds down a pipe suspended so that the end is in line with the crankshaft. A receiver that looks like a quality street tin in its side, with a large lip fitted is suspended also in line with the crankshaft and is connected to the big end by a pipe. Oil runs down from the reservoir and drips into the sweet tin running around the perimeter as the engine turns over. The pipe allows oil to be forced down to the big end. Oil pathways then allow oil to migrate along the bearing from the centre reservoir.  
I have a very old book that covers every aspect of steam engine design including every formulae required to calculate for example the diameter of the connecting rod based on the horsepower of the engine. I will have a browse and see if I can find a diagram of this oiler. Check out  About 1:30 in to get a feel for what’s going on. Sorry for the rambling but am of sick at the moment and the painkillers kicked in when I read your email and am feeling a bit fuzzy headed now. Unless you are a total genius I would doubt getting a working version running and the picture you sent which is only an interpretation but not really don’t appeal to me, but it’s your engine. Please let me know how yours go. 

Check out this video some nice closeups of the oiler.


Check out these original drawings and text from a very old book on steam engines. 


Are you working on a single or twin Victoria?.


If looking to accessorise a single go with a barring frame and barring recesses on the flywheel. Or go for the microcosm governor from eBay



Or for the ultimate do what the did in real life when they wanted to upgrade an old engine like a Victoria, sleeve the old cylinder to reduce bore and add new piston. Add a second Victoria to side of engine but run them as a compound steam engine. Old cylinder now runs like a new HP cylinder, new cylinder runs as IP or LP cylinder. You don’t need twice the steam as you would with a simple twin cylinder and you get almost as much power as with a simple twin.
Add a barring setup and a hot steam jacket round the connecting pipe between cylinders. Won’t run quite as well on compressed air but great on steam. Another nice feature is the wooden covering of the flywheel spokes. Many large engines had them as they improved aerodynamics and improved steam consumption. Check the video I linked in the other email.
Gotta go for now look forward to hearing your ideas

Stuart Threads

Hi Steve,

I have done a number of Stuart Turner restorations and have noticed that some of the older engines I have worked on use BSW as opposed to BA threads.
Would  you know approximately when Stuart Turner went completely over to BA?
Excellent website by the way it has been a great help to me!

Kindest regards


Hi there Shaun, 
A very interesting question with a possibly more interesting answer.
First thing, about BA threads.


BA (British Association) screw threads are named after the British Association for Advancement of Science and were put together in 1884 and standardised and published in 1903. Screws were described as 2BA, 4BA, 6BA and 8BA; the bigger numbers denote smaller screws.

This gives us a starting date of
1884 so ST could have started with BA threads as his first advert in Model Engineer is 1901. 

The problem is this, when you have a workshop you fill it with tools like taps and dies. These tools are semi disposable as they tend to break. When a new system is released you have to decide when to upgrade at a cost. If plans move to the new system you can convert them and continue with old system, (o have a couple of sets of plans where every dimension has been replaced and this can cause figment problems) but it becomes a chore. You can upgrade as breakages occur spreading the cost or you can splurge the cash. 
This situation occurs both for the designer and the machinist. So even if plans are in BA a machinist may still use BSW. So the machinist could build an engine in any year he decides to keep using BSW.
As far as ST goes where could we look to find out when.
The best place would be drawings but getting hold of old drawings is very unlikely, even Stuart do not have plans for all their engines, including some surprisingly late ones.
The next best place is catalogues both for mentions in descriptions and selling them in the back.

The earliest catalog I have access to is 1906 and it sell BSW taps and dies.

1926 catalogue sells BSW, brass gas, iron gas & Model Engineer taps and dies. Special taps are mentioned , made in house, short thread section but stronger. BA threads included. Bolts sold are all BSW but brass screws are available in BA. 
This seems to me that ST is still committed to BSW for construction but accepting the spread of BA.

1933 catalogue full set of BSW bolts, nuts, studs. Full set of BA bolts, nuts, studs. No mention of BA taps and dies even in the special taps section. 
It seems that ST now accepts the useage of BA fittings but still is using BSW for construction.

1957 catalogue BA nuts, bolts, studs. Taps and dies BSW, brass gas, Model Engineer, BA.
Seems that now ST has transitioned to BA threads. The listing order of taps and dies with BSW listed first is almost certainly because the table, set out as a comparison, most sizes available in BSW less so in the other formats.

So sometime between 1933 and 1957 is as close as I can get to tying down the changeover date. Someone with access to other catalogues would have to do a bit more research. Certainly I have ST models from around the 1940’s that still use BSW. 

I am thinking of adding a questions and answers page so I can where these ideas, keep an open as I will add in a request for more info from the readers.



Hi Steve,

Many thanks for the detailed analysis, very interesting indeed.
Do you know I asked the same question to Stuart Turner and they are surprisingly clueless.
The answer I got back was they think early engines built with BSW are all pre-WW1, but not sure!
I would have said pre-WW2 as you have pretty much concluded.
I have an early 10V with standard & rod and an early 10H, both started manufacture in 1924 and both BSW.
Anyway please keep up the good work, I find it extremely interesting and also keep safe.

Kindest regards 

Please Consider Making a Donation