1902 Freeland Traction Engine

We are very privileged to have with us this historic and unique model steam traction engine, built in 1902 “Heartbreaker” is the oldest known miniature road steam engine in the world.

Built in East Dereham, Norfolk the engine looks to have been influenced by the Burrell works who were located just 25 miles up the road. The work of a talented young wheelwright and carpenter, Mr George Long was just 20 years old when the engine was first completed, he latterly rebuilt and improved the engine in 1937. It was sold circa 1955 and moved to the West Country where it was enjoyed for many years by the owner’s young son, it eventually fell into disrepair until being sent for restoration in 2015.

The restoration was completed in 2019 and as you can see has turned out very nicely indeed, it needed a few hours in our workshop to sort out several teething problems but now runs sweetly and is ready to show.

The boiler was built by Bell Boilers and is CE marked, it has only been steamed a handful of times so is in as new condition. It is water fed by a crankshaft driven pump and manual hand pump, an oversized steam injector is also fitted but only works when it wants to.

It comes with an interesting history file which includes newspaper articles dating back to 1937 along with information of the restoration. Also included is the original riveted steel boiler along with a case of steam fittings which have since been replaced with modern equivalents.

Due to the age and provenance of the engine we would suggest it would be better suited more for display with the occasional steam up rather than something to extensively rally. With the small diameter cylinder, it is not the most powerful machine and would struggle with much more than one person on good ground conditions. Although built as a 3 speed you cannot engage the 3rd speed as it fouls against the hornplates, I can imagine the frustration of a young George Young in 1902 when he realised the error but feel it now adds to the story and historic charm of this amazing little engine.

At 118 years old it is older than most full-size steam engines on the rally field, this sale offers a unique opportunity for any road steam or model engineering enthusiast to purchase a real piece of working history.

The engine is similar overall size to to a 3" Burrell Traction Engine. UK delivery and export can be arranged and as always we are happy to consider all steam and vintage vehicles part exchange.