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Author Topic: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer  (Read 363 times)

Hero

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Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« on: January 26, 2020, 02:47:14 pm »
Even though I have too much stuff already, a few years ago I couldn't resist looking at this "hand-made destroyer" advertised in the local buy-and-sell paper, especially since, though it was described as electrically-powered, it was said to have a "small steam engine" with it.

The pictures show what I found. even though it's huge (the case is 4 feet long). I dragged it home, and a bit of questioning of the former owner revealed that his grandfather, an immigrant from England and thereafter a resident of Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, spent over four years of his time in the 1920's building a model of HMS Lance, the destroyer that fired the first British shot of WWI on August 5, 1914, and assisted in sinking the German mine-layer Konigin Luise in the same action (first German ship sunk in the war).

It really is electrically powered--by the dandiest antique electric 6-volt motor I've ever seen--and the "small steam engine" is a good-running masterpiece built by Granddad, too.

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Bob

Steamloco

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2020, 04:55:50 pm »
A wonderful bit of history with that ship both actual and in the model. Thanks for sharing.
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Stoker

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2020, 05:06:46 pm »
Those were definitely very special acquisitions that you made. I don't think it would be possible to resist such an opportunity were it to come along!
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Hero

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2020, 05:18:22 pm »
Thanks for the nice comments.

Here's a Mitchell's cigarette card from 1915 showing the real Lance.

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Bob

Steamandoil (Tim)

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2020, 09:14:22 am »
Wow what a great story and a great find. Certainly a one off model that stands alone for several reasons. You should be proud to own that.
If you play with fire, you're gonna get burned.

Hero

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2020, 10:18:01 am »
Thanks for the compliment.

I'm in the midst of adding radio control--at this point just for the steering, as I want to preserve as much of the original as possible but still give it a run every now and then.

I'm still thinking about the throttle. Will an ESC work with that big ol' 6v brushed motor?
Bob

Steam Technology

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2020, 02:32:30 pm »
Nice boat. What make is the steam engine, I thought a stuart but it may be small for a 10v
ESC will work with just about any dc motor so should work fine with yours. It may be worthwhile getting an ESC controller with adjustable frequency ranges or at least switchable ranges, some old motors with controllers really sing on certain frequencies.
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bigal

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2020, 11:55:20 pm »
The steam looks very similar to a Monarch engine that I have.  I'll have to take a look for mine

Hero

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2020, 11:00:58 am »
The steam looks very similar to a Monarch engine that I have.  I'll have to take a look for mine

Thanks for that. I always thought that it might be home-built, but if that's the case it's an outstanding job....
Bob

Jasper

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2020, 08:07:22 pm »
Fantastic ship you have , and a lot of detailed craftsman ship in its construction ! I have seen similar electric motor configurations in Seaworthy and Jacrim toy boats of the 1920s  converted to electric. Builders oft used a vertical style Kendrick & Davis (K&D) or possible a scarce Knapp vertical mounted sideways like yours. Sorta carved a space in the hull to fit.  Your motor looks possibly modified near the brushes at coupling end to be better robust ? Hard to tell.
Less powerful toy wood boats of the 1910-30s often used upside down 6v Gilbert P38 , or an Ajax/ LiittleHustler mounted upright.

Hero

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2020, 01:44:22 am »
I don't know about motor modifications. Perhaps these views will tell you something.

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Bob

Jasper

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Re: Ahead of its Time: Electric Destroyer
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2020, 11:12:44 am »
Bob, good pictures. Your motors maker is unknown to me. I can tell you that from the limited number of 1920s early 1930s small American electric motors I have worked with that yours is high quality. The green cloth stranded wiring , soldered connections, nickel plated terminals are similar style to what Knapp used from about 1910 onwards, but that doesnt really mean its a Knapp. The barreled brushes (maybe copper screen or sintered) and the tight black cloth wiring on the field coils shows quality. Your motors condition looks great so make sure you handle it carefully. The cloth wiring can fray, the solder joints can break in handling. For a water craft use, your motor is very clean and not rusted. I would say that was a fairly higher end expensive motor in its day. Both ends (the white metal) pieces are not that common and perhaps someone else can identify the motor from that characteristic. Finally, I have seen that style of rare motor used in large (36 +) Rum Runner style toy boats. Those boats were quite expensive toys in the 20s until the pre-war 40s. The builder of your boat knew what he was doing when he chose that motor for that ship.

 

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