David Hulse – Steam Engines of the 18th Century

Welcome to David Hulse Steam Engines a website featuring models of steam engines built in the eighteenth century that paved the way for the industrial revolution.  Featuring engines by Thomas Newcomen, James Watt, James Pickard, Matthew Wasborough, Francis Thompson, Adam Heslop and Richard Trevithick, all manufactured by David Hulse.

In 1970 I started a project which was to occupy all my spare time for the next 45 years. I have researched and constructed in miniature the important steam engines which were built in the eighteenth century.

These engines paved the way for the industrial revolution in the British Isles and which spread to many other countries throughout the world. These eighteenth century engines are usually grouped together and called steam engines, however, they were not steam engines. Steam was used as a means of creating a vacuum against which the earth’s pressure could act. The correct terminology is that they were atmospheric engines.

As you progress through this website, the engines you will see are all made from exactly the same materials which would have been available to the engineers of the eighteenth- century.

The engine houses are built from real bricks at a reduced scale of 1/16 the full size. In order to complete the buildings to house the engines 151,000 ceramic bricks were used and, all were made on a specially designed miniature brick machine.

All the metal parts were either machined from solid metal or made by hand forging in my home workshop, this gave the appearance of having been made by the engineers of the eighteenth-century.

For all of you who missed the news article that ITV ran about my Steam Engines then just Click Here!

Before retiring I was employed as the Chief Development Engineer for the Royal Doulton group of potteries and it was this use of ceramics which gave me the knowledge to make the parts that are not commercially available to model engineers. A start will now be made by describing the brick making because without an economical way of producing the bricks none of these engines I have researched would have been made:

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70 entries.
Tim Freeman wrote on March 10, 2024
Thank you so much for your wonderful models which I saw for the first time yesterday in the Dartmouth Museum. An astonishing achievement and lesson for us all in how to use our time to good effect.
Danny Kerr wrote on February 21, 2024
Hi David What a fantastic exhibition of your scale models of steam engines. The young engineers of today should see these and they would appreciate your expertise and skill as I was.
Alan Hornsby wrote on November 29, 2023
Dear David, Your book arrived today. So much for the weekend. Are plans for any of your engines available ? These engines have been neglected by history , good to see that changing. Regards Alan
Michele Wild wrote on September 26, 2023
Just to say thank you for giving such a. fascinating talk yesterday at the Birmingham and Midland Institute. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be reading the mechanical wonders book that accompanies the exhibition. I’ll also plan a visit to Dartmouth once the models are available to view ; I find it much easier to understand the engineering principles behind these inventions with such an accurate model to study. Thank you.
Brenda Lawton wrote on August 1, 2023
Congratulations David on having a permanent home for your brilliant creations xx
Brian Wright wrote on March 23, 2023
Spoke to David today at RSUH, a real pleasure to meet such an accomplished engineer.
Jeff and Judy White wrote on October 20, 2022
Really enjoyed video. We are the couple writing a tech novel about an English apprentice from Birmingham who comes to America to work on the Middlesex Canal. Thanks again
Derek Brain wrote on July 14, 2022
Dear David, So wonderful to meet you yesterday (13/07/2022). I am bowled over by the quality of your models! One thing I forgot to ask you about the brickwork - what type of mortar did you use between the bricks? I Look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards Derek Brain
Chris Arnold wrote on June 26, 2022
Very inspiring. I could never hope to match the level of accuracy and authenticity of these models. I love Model Engineering but don't have the same time availability - I do watch a little TV with my wife.
Bradley Andersen wrote on June 25, 2022
Hi sir you are a very skilled hobby engineer. I'm in Maryborough Queensland Australia I'm a member of model engineers and live steams we build and run mostly 5 Inch gauge steam locomotives.Your work is second to none in scale engines well done very inspiring .