A virtual magazine for a true passion!

Editor: Jaap Horst

Volume 25, Issue 2

Steam engine by Bugatti

By Noel Domboy
(The drawing above is from my archive)

This is an article from a funny old magazine "Light Steam Power", published on the Isle on Man, March-April 1968. It's written by N. Domboy, no less, and gives an outline of the plans for somewhat radical steam trains to be designed and built by Bugatti. This was sent to me by my friend Tony Hubner (a steam enthusiast, who also built his own steam locomotive) from Canada.

Comments by Tony:
"I have known of the plans for high speed trains by Bugatti for some years, but information is certainly scarce. I have an incomplete collection of these magazines which through the 50's and 60's tried to make a case for a revival of steam as a superior motive power, but they are full of good data if you care to look for it.

The 8 cylinder engine shown is most interesting, clearly a steam engine designed by an internal combustion expert. Almost all steam engines were double-acting, the piston being very shallow, really a thick disk fastened onto a rigid piston rod passing through a lower cylinder head sealed with a packing gland. This in turn used a cross head in a guide to drive a connecting rod. This was the way of steam engines throughout their useful existence.

Single-acting engines there were, but all had the problem of water getting past the pistons and collecting in the oil pan. The English firm of Sentinel built highly successful big lorries, the last of which were powered with single-acting 4 cylinder engines, using a goose-necked siphon device to allow water floating on the oil to drip away, with apparent success. The last of these trucks were a batch of 101 built in 1951.

Much superior was Ettore Bugatti's over-long pistons having a second set of rings on the skirt with a drain hole in the cylinder wall at the half-stroke point, as described by M. Domboy. Another spark of Bugatti genius lay in the double-seat poppet valves with the flexible head."

Thanks Tony for this article!

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