Murray's Hypocycloidal Engine

Murray's Hypocycloidal Engine

Murray's Hypocycloidal Engine
The engine at Thinktank
Type Hypocycloidal
Designer Matthew Murray
Maker Fenton, Murray and Wood
Date 1805 (1805)
Country of origin England
Former operator
Cylinders 1
Collection Birmingham Museums Trust
Location Thinktank, Digbeth, Birmingham, England
Accession no. 1961S01437.00001
recording of the engine ticking over at low load

Murray's Hypocycloidal Engine, now in Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, England, was made around 1805[1] and is the world's third-oldest working steam engine[2] and the oldest working engine with a hypocycloidal gear.[1]


The engine in motion

Designed by Matthew Murray, and made by Fenton, Murray and Wood of Holbeck, Leeds, it is one of only two of the type to survive;[3] the other is located at The Henry Ford, Michigan, United States.[4]

The single-cylinder engine was used by John Bradley & Co of Stourbridge from 1805 until 1931, and by N Hingkey & Sons of Netherton from 1931 until 1961, when it was acquired by Birmingham City Council for their science museum.[5]

Murray patented the hypocycloidal arrangement in 1802.[3]

See also


  1. ^ The oldest working engine, the Smethwick Engine, and the second oldest, the Whitbread Engine, are beam engines, and neither uses a hypocycloidal gear.


  1. ^ Reyburn, Ross (2 December 2000). "Full steam ahead; Some of Birmingham's most impressive artefacts are on the move".  
  2. ^ "Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum". Automuseums. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Matthew Murray's elegant design". Birmingham Stories. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Hypocycloidal Pumping Engine". Stationary Steam. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Birmingham Museums Trust catalogue, accession number: 1961S01437.00001