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Doc's Mignon Steam Traction Engine

Hi folks, Doc here. This is a model from the Mignon No. 3 set. It's a simplified version of a traditional steam powered traction engine, which was a wheeled steam engine used to move heavy loads, plough ground, or to provide remote power at various locations. The name derives from the Latin tractus, meaning 'drawn', since the prime function of any traction engine is to draw a load behind it. Traction engines in various forms - steam tractors, road locomotives, showman's engines, etc. - were in use worldwide from the 1860s into the 1930s. Today, they are extremely popular with restoration enthusiasts, and can be seen in action at numerous club events, rallies, and fairs.

The Mignon system featured a wider inventory of part styles than many of its contemporaries, many of which were rarely seen outside of other German systems, and some which were unique to Mignon. As I have described elsewhere on Girders & Gears, these parts are entirely made of aluminum, many of which - as the photos indicate - are anodized in various colors. The only exceptions are the rubber tires, the fasteners, and a few odd pieces like the spring belts which are featured on this model. The model also makes use of the several of the thin, flexible plates which are such a conspcuous feature of the Mignon system. Although simple in design, this model was trickier in execution than it looks. Of course, this is true of virtually all Mignon models, given the very small size of the various parts and fasteners. This design is manually powered by a crank, but it could easily be motorized using the Mignon clockwork motor or even an electric motor from another system.