When purchasing a Mamod stationary engine, the model many people will expect to see is one from the SP range.
These models have been intricately crafted at the company's base in Smethwick, West Midlands, and contain a small chimney bearing the brand logo. Whether it is complete with dynamo, steam engine or sleeve valve engine, these products have become among the best sellers that the company has to offer. However, there was a time before the popular SP range and prior to the introduction of these models Mamod made SE engines.
In the early days of Mamod the SE1 and SE2 were the standard stationary engines available. They were manufactured between 1936 and 1937 before World War II intervened but production was rammed up once again in peace time between 1946 and 1967. Like with the marine engines such as the Meteor and Conqueror, the SE range was the brainchild of Geoffrey Malin who was heavily involved in the manufacture of these engines.
At the time, Mamod was working alongside Hobbies with Mr Malin working for both companies. This lead to a number of SE models having similarities and there was a time when the SE4 model was even released in Hobbies' colours. However, Mamod managed to break away from these similarities after the war when the SE models carried the company's branded brass engine frames, hot stamped brass flywheels and a regulator.
The SE models continued in popularity through the 50s and 60s with many people picking up the stationary products to add towards their own collection. While there was the lure of building a working steam railway where people could watch their models whizz around the track, there is something more rewarding to watching a functional stationary engine.
Mamod updated the SE range throughout this era before it made the biggest change in 1967. This saw the dawn of the SE1a and SE2a. The latter offered people the option of a reverse level which had previously been on the MEC1 Meccano engine and gave customers an innovative product for their collection.
By the time the 1970s were coming it was nearing the end of the SE range but it was not before they converted to solid fuel for the domestic market and installed with a sight glass instead of an overflow plug in 1978. The end of the 70s ushered in a new era of stationary models with Mamod introducing the SP range.
The SP models were deemed to an upgrade on the SE which, by Mamod's own admission, were "looking tired", and the company needed to offer a modern product which would appeal to the new collectors coming to the market. The company was also keen to satisfy the development of all the safety regulations that were introduced post-1978 and creating a completely new range of engine was seen as the right thing to do at the time. While the SE will always be seen as the product that got Mamod off the ground when it came to stationary engines, the SP has taken this mantle with aplomb and continues to be a more modern offering for collectors.