These steamboats were first made in the 1800s. The version we are selling dates from 1926. The boat is powered by the world’s simplest steam engine, a small diaphragm connected to two tubes. When the system is filled with water and a tiny candle is put under the diaphragm, it creates steam that expels water out the tubes.

The steam then condenses, creating a vacuum that draws water in. Since the water is expelled more quickly than it is taken in, the result is a net propulsive force. One of the most amazing parts of the whole process is that the boat makes a "putting" noise very similar to a small motor boat.

Made from recycled tin plate, these boats are the product of a small cottage industry in India. They are entertaining, inexpensive and function well. The boats are simple (even a bit crude) with just a base coat of paint and some may even have rust spots. Not intended for children; they are still made as they were in 1920s, with lead-based paint and sharp edges, and are powered using an open flame.

Sold as a set of three. Each boat comes with operating instructions, a low-quality eyedropper for initial filling, 25 extra candles and instructions for making more candles as required.

Not available for shipment to Québec.

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