7574 S. 74 Street Franklin, Wisconsin 53132
After building models from castings of both the Ericsson Hot Air
Pumping Engine and the Improved Ericsson (American Machine Co.) Hot
Air Pumping Engine, I wanted to build another but different hot air
engine. Having seen a Bremen engine (called Caloric by Bremen) at a
show, I decided that this was it!
The Bremen Manufacturing Company of Bremen, Ohio seems to have
started building their ‘noiseless Caloric Pumping Engine’
in 1906, after the patent was assigned in June. This patent was
based on an earlier patent issued in 1896. Their six inch bore
Caloric engine was advertised to lift water from 25 feet below and
elevate it 75 feet above the base of the engine. This engine burned
natural or manufactured gas, gasoline or alcohol. It was common for
hot air pumping engines to be placed in the basement of a house,
pumping water to a tank located on one of the floors above it. When
starting the engine, an arrow on the flywheel showed the direction
that the wheel was to be turned. Today, the Bremen is one of the
more rare examples of hot air engines, partially because production
was less than the three major companies which were located in the
New York area.
The project began by my measuring and drawing the engine.
Foundry patterns were then made of wood and metal, so the parts
could all be cast. Some of the patterns had different sizes of
letters attached to them to duplicate the raised lettering on the
real engine. I then had several sets cast to meet the foundry’s
minimum order. While this was being done, the material was gathered
together to make the non-cast parts, such as bearings, steel plate,
rods, O-rings, etc.
This engine was a fairly simple machining job, especially if one
has built either of the two model engines mentioned above. I
suspect that its simplicity and lack of complicated alignment of
its parts was one reason for this design on the real engine. A
lathe, milling machine and drill press were used in the machining
of the parts. The power cylinder should be honed. This could be
done at home with a brake hone, if enough care was taken in the
boring process, or it could be professionally honed by a local
honing company. It is very important to have a good fit between the
cylinder and piston on a hot air engine. Hot air engines have no
rings and rely only on this fit and a string packing for
After the parts were all machined and assembled, the day came
for a test run. The gas burner was lit and after about one minute,
the flywheel was turned. The engine started and soon water was
being pumped through the pump and cylinder jacket. This pumping
engine, like the other makes, passed the water that was being
pumped through the cylinder jacket to keep the engine cool. It is
hard to describe the feeling that an engine builder feels when an
engine runs for the first time.
After sufficient running time, the engine was disassembled and
washed for painting. The color scheme was supplied to me by Bill
Perleberg of Colorado, who has a full size Bremen, which still had
the original paint on it. The color is as follows:
Light apple green: Flywheel spokes and hub.
Red: Sides of wheel, both cylinders, center section of air
Oliver Tractor Green: Both cylinder heads, displacer rod guide
bracket, side nameplates, air chamber tops and bottoms.
Aluminum: All lettering, flywheel rim and sides of rim, sides of
inner rim, both arrows on flywheel, rings on air chambers, plug on
top of air chambers, piston rod, displacer rods, displacer beams,
pump rod, furnace door.
Black: Base, top and bottom cylinder plates, water pump, bearing
stands, furnace, legs.
This engine was an enjoyable project and makes a nice looking
model, especially with the bright colors. I have a few sets of
castings for this engine if anybody is interested. Now to plan the
next engine model.