Information on our 20-Horsepower Piston-Valve Steam Engine

20-Horsepower at 200 psig and 700 rpm

Approximate weight 150 pounds for 20 Horsepower engine

More pictures of our 20-Horsepower Steam Engine

Photos of our Shop in Missouri

Click on photo for larger image
Checking bore sizes
on 20-hp steam engine cylinders
Crankcase for
20-hp steam engine with cylinders and parts
Crankcase for
20-hp steam engine with cylinders and parts

Our 5500 square foot Shop with 9 CNC machines and 9 employees
Our 5500 square foot Shop
with 9 CNC machines

and 9 employees
1-hp steam engine parts
 ready for assembly

1-hp steam engines

All of our products are made in the U.S.A.

We have had a number of requests for information on our 20-horsepower steam engine. Unfortunately, a "spec sheet" or general information isn’t very informative to someone who doesn’t know the difference between a D-valve or a piston valve or the difference between a double-acting, double expansion, or a uniflow engine. However, for those of you who do know the difference, we do provide some specifications at the end of this diatribe.

Worse, we seem to attract more than our share of "armchair engineers" who think they can design an entire steam system since all they have to know is that boiling water turns to steam. We are hoping that you, the reader, are not one of these.

To that end, we have divided those interested into three categories: the Good, the Bad, and the Uncertain.         

The Good

The ability to use and apply piston steam engines is almost a lost art. A lot of people "talk turbines" but steam turbines are not really practical for anything under 250 horsepower, for two reasons.

First, under 250 horsepower, steam turbines are fuel inefficient, for a variety of reasons too lengthy to go into here.

Second, a turbine requires dry steam, really dry steam. The type of wet steam you get from a small boiler allows microscopic droplets of water to get into the turbine and act as grains of sand would. To use a crude analogy, jump into a body of water from a height of ten feet. Unless you hit bottom, no harm will come to you.

Now jump into the same body of water from 1,000 feet. You will be going so fast when you hit, it will be like hitting concrete. That’s the difference between a piston steam engine and a turbine. Microscopic droplets of water, to some extent, actually help to lubricate a piston steam engine. Those same droplets will destroy a turbine.

Finally, there is the expense. A steam turbine with the boiler and accessories to provide superheated steam of 800 F. or up is going to run 7 figures (or better). If you're a power company, you can probably afford it. For the rest of us, piston steam engines are a whole lot more practical and less expensive.

People in the "good" category are prone to do the following:

First, they order our Special Steam Package.

Second, they study the material. You can’t go from a knowledge of "water boiled turns to steam" to the ability to design an entire system in 45 minutes.

Third, they order one of our 1-horsepower or 3-horsepower steam engines and install a system, such as for standing home power generation. Such a system is often known as a "pilot plant" or "pilot project," a method used by all large engineering firms before they "scale up" and build a larger system. It's much easier and less expensive to have a 5-gallon problem to learn on than a 5,000-gallon problem (and, if you "pay your dues" and start on a small scale, you will find putting a larger unit together will be ten times easier). Such people are now qualified to move on to larger, more sophisticated systems, such as the installation of our 20-horsepower for a sawmill, boat, factory, farm, electric generator, water pump, or even a small car.

The first steam engines were used to pump water out of mines and to grind grain. The first factories used a shaft running the length of the building. A belt from the steam engine rotated the shaft. Other belts on the shaft in turn drove the machinery on the floor of the factory.

A couple of our customers are planning on installing these engines in dune buggies. The idea is to have a vehicle that can run on twigs picked up in the wilderness. Such a vehicle may be called a USV (as opposed to SUV) or Ultimate Survival Vehicle

The Bad

These are the people who do nothing but send e-mail, talk, and the like. Such people are also known as "hood lifters" and "tire kickers." If you are one of those people who "wants information" before you "invest" in a book or a videotape, before you do your homework, and are merely at the "planning" (i.e. pipe dream) stage, let us apologize in advance for not answering your e-mails, questions, and regular mail. We just don’t have the time for idle curiosity seekers and people who aren’t serious. Unfortunately, an inordinate number of people fall into this category when it comes to the subject of steam.

The Uncertain

These are the people who are determined to have more information but are too impatient to "pay their dues" by learning from a smaller system. They want a 20-horsepower and they want it NOW.

To some extent, we can accommodate such people.

Our engines themselves (the first run will be only 26 units) are slated to come out of our machine shop in August of this year, provided there are no setbacks. Some of these are already spoken for.


Price:  The price of one of our fully-assembled 20-horsepower piston-valve, V-twin steam engines, bench tested and ready to run, is $6,500.00, plus shipping and packaging.

Purchase:  To purchase your 20-horsepower fully assembled and ready-to-run steam engine, send a check or bank draft in the amount of $6,500.00, made payable to:

Mike Brown
PO Box 4884
Springfield, MO 65808

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This page was updated on 5 November 2011