Wilesco steam engines
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A short history of our company

The Wilhelm Schröder GmbH & co metalworks factory was founded in 1912.
The Wilesco trademark was born out of the name Wilhelm Schröder & Co. 
To begin with, when the aluminium foundry first opened, the company only produced cutlery, badges, and furniture fittings.

At the start of the 1920s, aluminium cutlery and little pans for doll’s houses (so called “domestic toys”) were introduced into their manufacturing programme. 
This decision proved to have been very beneficial, as in the following economic, crisis huge amounts of these domestic toys were exported to the USA. 
This meant that the company was able to thrive in an otherwise difficult economic period. 
In the following years, we reduced our sales of simple aluminium cutlery bit by bit.


We constantly worked on expanding our production capacity in aluminium permanent mould casting and, from 1939, in aluminium and zinc die-casting, adapting to the demand on the market. 
To this day, Wilesco’s product lines include weighing scoops with lengths of 3 to 43 cm, plus a wide range of coat hooks and hand towel hooks. 
Our die-cast zinc and aluminium products are mainly used as circuit components, joints, etc., in the automotive and electronics industry. 
We even make the flywheels and rods for the steam engines ourselves using this process.

We began producing model steam engines only in 1950.

After several stationary engines, the steamroller known as “Old Smoky” was first introduced to the production line as a mobile model in 1966. 
This was followed by a steam tractor as well as a fire engine, inspired by an original model by the MAGIRUS co. in 1904. 
The latest motorised model is the “Mighty Atom” tractor. This is a detailed model of the original from 1932. 
The phrase “Quality and Safety” not only stands for Wilesco steam engines, but also represents the overarching policies of our company.

Made in Germany – our quality promise

The tightness and functionality of each individual boiler and each mounted steam engine is checked by a professional before distribution.

Because of its compliance to safety regulations, Wilesco is entitled to label its steam engines with TÜV Nord’s GS symbol, which stands for “safety tested”.

The normal working pressure of the boiler is approx. 1.5 bar.
The safety valve mounted on each boiler opens at 1.8 bar, so that there is not an excess of pressure and that safe operation is guaranteed. The boiler and the boiler house, as well as all steam-handling components of the steam engine become hot and should not be touched during operation. Please read the detailed user’s instructions enclosed to every engine BEFORE use.

All of our boilers are made of highly polished brass tubing, and partially plated with nickel. Each boiler has a safety valve and a glass water gauge in order to check the level of the water in the boiler. Additionally, almost all engines are equipped with a steam whistle. This provides an acoustic manner of checking the pressure in the boiler. The boiler houses and base plates are made out of high quality tin, with modern coats of paint.

The cylinders manufactured with a special brass alloy come in two kinds:

  • oscillating and
  • reversible (double action) cylinder.

The oscillating cylinders only work in one direction.

Engines with reversible, double action cylinders can rotate the flywheel in both directions, resulting in a higher energy yield (more power) able to move M-models. The zinc five-spoke flywheels are either painted or gilded. All of the engines, with the exception of the fire engine and the marine steam engines, have a pulley system that drives the model using coils. Many machines have a chimney to direct the excess steam, living up to their name. The steam engines are generally heated with solid fuel (Witabs), and some machines are using an electrical heating system.

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