Hot air engine

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This is an eight inch Rider Ericsson Caloric hot air engine owned by Jerry and Leann Toews, Box 131, Goessel, Kansas 67053. Hot air engines like this one were used solely for the purpose of pumping water as the water pump is directly mounted on the engine and activated by the brass plunger rod on the left side of this picture. The brass cup shaped part is for priming the water pump. Engines like this could use any thing that burns for fuel. Many times coal was used. The hot air engine is actually a external combustion engine (the combustion takes place in the fire box). In a 1890 Rider Ericsson catalog this particular engine had the following data: it would consume 3 lbs. of coal per hour and pump 500 gallons of water to a height of 50 feet and cost $250.00. These engines were built as small as 5 inch and as large as 12 inch in the 1890 catalog. This sizing was according to the diameter of the piston.