DIT donates rare piece of industrial archaeology to Steam Museum

Thursday, 17th July Dublin: A unique piece of industrial archaeology will, today, be moved from Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street to go on permanent display in the Steam Museum in Straffan, County Kildare. The Mirrlees, Bickerton & Day (MBD) blast injection engine, dating from 1910 and still in pristine working order, has been donated by the Faculty of Engineering, DIT to the museum where it will be installed as a running engine.

Steam Engineer, Mike Hargreaves, from the Steam Museum Straffan pictured with the Mirrlees, Bickerton & Day (MBD) blast injection engine.

According to Eamonn Fitzgerald of the Steam Museum: 'This is a very exciting day as it represents the conclusion of a considerable joint endeavour by DIT and the Museum to preserve a historical piece of industrial Dublin for the enjoyment of future generations.' Similar engines used in industry or elsewhere would have been dismantled and replaced by powerful electric motors by the early 1930s, so this is a unique example of a working engine from the turn of the 20th century that should appeal to engineering enthusiasts of all ages.

Black, with brass fittings and polished machined edges, this piece of mechanical antiquity was manufactured in Stockport, England by Mirrlees, Bickerton & Day. The vertical engine stands 14 feet high and has a seven tonne flywheel. In their time the MBD blast injection engines were powerful general purpose machines which would have been used to generate power in a wide variety of contexts - supplying electrical power in lighthouses, hospitals, shipyards, flour mills, and industry. The engine has been used down through the years for educational purposes and experimental work by students of mechanical engineering in DIT Bolton Street.

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