June 6, 2023


Automotive and technology

This 1905 engine can rival a modern-day EV for torque—just add steam — Petersen Automotive Museum


This steampunk contraption can move some severe bodyweight. The boiler is coal-fired and just about six foot deep. The heat from the hearth creates steam that moves a 14-inch diameter piston by means of a 14-inch stroke. Get anything dialed in appropriately and there isn’t considerably that can end this 75,000-pound monster. The only thing it simply cannot do is outrun just about anything: Major velocity in substantial equipment is just about 6 mph.

The motor can not move immediately, but this online video reveals the 150 Scenario pulling a bottoming plow by means of the earth. Not just any bottoming plow, either—this just one is assembled from multiple plows and actions virtually 50 toes edge to edge. The fat of the plow and operators alone around matches that of a 2000-pound competitiveness tractor pull-sled incorporate in the (literal) drag generated by the resisting dust and this item would prevent just about just about anything in its tracks. The Scenario will get stoked up and pulls by without the need of challenge. Observing the governor chatter and click on indicates that steam piston is carrying out all it can, while.

This highlights the intersection of torque and horsepower. In our fashionable planet we are spoiled by multi-speed transmissions that multiply the comparatively meager torque of interior-combustion engines. Electrical motors have a virtually flat torque “curve” and consequently only involve a transmission in unique programs. Add even a tiny gear ratio and all of a sudden a 9000-pound SUV can zip from to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds with nearly no drama. What that the present day, rubber-fatigued EV can not do is get the job done like this steam-driven behemoth.

Two diverse instruments for two different tasks, nevertheless. What contemporary EVs and this 1905 traction motor share, surprisingly adequate, are rather rudimentary transmissions, highlighting the technologies has eventually caught up to the process. Adore it or detest it, EVs can haul—even if we won’t be substituting them for locomotives any time shortly.


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