Munktells steam traction engine

Photo 1

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Rubens Maskinhistoriska Samlingar Lars Olofs Gard 7007, S-533 00 Gotene Sweden

This is a report of the engine hobby in Scandinavia, which has not yet caught on on a large scale. There are vintage car exhibitions, but our part of the collecting and restoring hobby has yet to blossom. Usually a single oil engine or tractor is about all one finds at a show. In the early '80s, an international meeting was arranged in Denmark, and in Sweden, several attempts have been made to add steam and oil engines {c} old car rallies, but these have {c} with limited success.

While Scandinavians would be interested in seeing engine displays, I feel that collectors and restorers do not yet have engines ready for display. Also, travel distances and transport costs are another factor adversely affecting the displaying of engines at shows.

However, the Rubens Historical Machinery Collection is helping to fill the void by providing for the public working demonstrations of steam and oil engines on the Sundays during July. We are also working on the idea of a 'baby rally'.

Shown here are photos from the collection. Photo 1 and 2 are of the Munktells steam traction engine no. 5605, 1914, klass SK6. This engine is the sole survivor of the largest type of traction engine made by the Swedish firm Munktells (which is now the M in Volvo BM). Although made in 1914, it was not sold before 1919, due to a very limited market for this 10 HP engine. Only 18 were made between 1912 and 1914 and the last six in the series were hard to sell.

This engine was bought by a traveling contractor in the wood sawing and threshing business and replaced a smaller Munktells engine. When the area in which it was working became electrified in the '30s, the engine was sold for the same sort of work further south. In 1955, it was bricked in concrete and semi-fixed in a small sawmill. It looked like a portable in this state. The engine was bought for the Rubens collection by my father, Ruben Blom in 1969, under the agreement that the owner could use it as long as he wanted (he was then 82 years old).

In 1971, the engine was brought to the Rubens collection and restoration was begun. After 8 years of slow work-which included rebuilding from drawings all the missing parts- it was back on the road in 1982 in 'like new' condition. It was then steered by the Swedish king, His Majesty King Carl Gustav-the only steam traction engine which the king has driven! (photo 3)

The Munktells is a major part of an exhibition at Rubens, but on occasion, has taken part in other demonstrations. In photo 4, it is participating in a political demonstration which ended at the local station of the nearby railway museum line. We have also been invited to visit rallies in England and Holland with the engine, in which we have been honored with various trophies (photo 5).

The main part of our steam engine collection consists of portable steam engines. Here is an English Marshall of 25 HP, weighing 15 tons (photo 6).

Munktells portable steam engine no. 2791 of 1902, klass H4 (4 HP), braking 13 HP. During our working and steam-ups, it powers a rock crusher. It is engine no. 3 in our collection, thus one of the first units bought by Ruben Blom in the mid-sixties (photo 7).

Oil engines of various kinds are to be found in the Rubens Historical Machinery collection (probably around 130). Here is a Hercules paraffin engine from about 1920. It is rated 10 HP when on 320 rpm. It is what we call an American-style engine, even if quite common over here. Most oil engines in Sweden are of another type, namely two stroke hot bulb crude or paraffin engines (photo 8).

Pictured below is one part of our yard during our regular running days-the Sundays in July. In view are a Munktells road roller, an oil engine single cylinder hot bulb from 1916. Behind the roller stands the Munktells traction engine 5605 of 1914. The portable steam engine is belted to a stone crusher (photo 9).

We at Stemgas are deeply grateful for the information from Tore Blom. We are always seeking to broaden our coverage both nationally and internationally, for we believe that our readers enjoy hearing about what is going on among collectors and restorers in other nations. If engine buffs could just get together on a global basis, it might do the world a lot of good. -Ed.