The Internet Craftsmanship Museum Presents:

Jerry Kieffer

Joe Martin Foundation "Metalworking Craftsman of the Year" award winner for 1997

A selection of Jerry Kieffer's other projects--past and future

Jerry Kieffer is a man of many interests. If you have already visited his pages on the Harley Davidson models, John Deere tractor, his clock projects and so on, you can see that he has had to master many areas of expertise to be able to work in all these areas. In addition, he also does some gunsmithing work and is making a repeater watch from scratch. Those projects will eventually be added to this section, but for now the photos below still show an impressive array of varied skills.

If you haven't already done so, read more about Jerry Kieffer, his background and his quest for total scale in his introductory page. There you will also find links to other model engines, tools and clocks he has made.

Here are photos of some of Jerry's other projects:

(Click photo for larger image.)

Stover Hit 'N Miss Engine

Jerry says that although this little Stover hit 'n miss engine doesn't look all that impressive, it was quite a challenge. Particularly difficult and unique to this model is a scale 3/4" square functional Wico magneto. It took about 5 hours to wind each of the two coils and only one out of 5 worked. Jerry put about 350 hours into the magneto alone. He has not seen another working one this small and is kind of proud of it, but he said he wouldn't want to do it again.
A nickel is used for size reference in the first photo while a quarter is used in the second photo. The details of the magneto can be seen in the second photo.

Grasshopper Horizontal Steam Engine

This "grasshopper" steam engine is made in a very small scale. Note the works of a women's wristwatch in the foreground to compare the size of the tiny fasteners in the watch to the even smaller fasteners made for the steam engine.

Tiny Oscillating Steam Engine

  The world record holder for "World's Smallest Steam Engine" according to the Guinness Book of World's Records is the "Thumbnail Steam Engine" built by Iqbal Ahmed in Nagpur, India. It can be seen on his page in this museum. This engine built by Jerry Kieffer is smaller, lighter and has a flywheel built up of a hub, rim and six individual spokes. It is mounted on a stand that allows it to be run when compressed air is supplied to the fitting. This is an oscillating engine rather than a horizontal as built by Mr. Ahmed, so the two are not exactly a direct comparison, but it does make for an interesting discussion. A quarter dollar coin is used for size comparison in these photos.
  The tiny engine sits atop a stand that functions both to display it and to supply a place to hook an air line to run it. The vertical support is a tube that screws into the intake port to supply pressure to the engine.
Two close-up photos the steam engine itself. It is .40" long. (The width of Washington's face from nose to hair on the US Quarter coin is .50".) The flywheel is .25" in diameter. The bore is .059" and the stroke is .060". This engine can now be seen on display in the Foundation's museum in Vista, CA.

Despite its tiny size, it is still large compared to the one below.

Extremely Small Dual-Flywheel Steam Engine in Wood Box

World's smallest? This engine explores the minimum size a working steam engine can actually be built using machining technology. A quarter shows how small this oak finger jointed box really is. Inside the felt lined box is what we believe to be the world's smallest twin-flywheel steam engine. The whole engine will fit inside the 1/4" flywheel of the engine shown in the previous section.
This tiny engine weighs just 3.5 grains. It has a bore of .029" and a stroke of .032". Injecting air into the .008" intake port with a hypodermic needle will get the two little flywheels spinning away.
At shows, Jerry displays the tiny engine and its fitted box on top of the eraser of a pencil. (Yes, that is a standard #2 pencil, not an oversize one.)

Miniature Oilers

Jerry makes oilers of various sizes for different projects. These are fully functional and constructed just like the full-size originals using glass, not clear plastic.

Miniature Tools

This tiny "monkey wrench" is fully functional. It fits in nicely sitting on the workbench of Jerry's miniature machine shop model.

Miniature Spark Plugs

Jerry makes the spark plugs for his engine with the same attention to detail as the rest of the engine. These plugs represent four different types of prototype sparkplugs but in scale. Jerry says, "The first one is a 1/4 scale "Rentz 775   spark intensifier spark plug". It was designed to give a hotter spark when starting a farm type (or others). The engine and then could be set back to normal spark after starting. You would first open a gap in the glass area before starting.  This would mean that the coil would have to build up enough spark to jump the upper gap as well as the normal gap in the  combustion area. That produced a much hotter spark in the combustion area when starting. After the engine started the upper gap could be closed for normal running operation reducing coil overheating etc.

The second plug is a standard 1/6th scale Champion plug typical of what was
used in tractors and hit-and-miss engines of the 20`s and 30`s.

The third plug is a 1/6th scale Champion Air cooled Harley Davidson plug
used in the early bikes.

Fourth is a 1/4 scale Champion "Toledo" primer plug used in early cars and other engines for priming each cylinder before starting.

Each of the plugs is fully functional and operates as the original.  Each is used to run various model engines when on display at shows. Also, as shown in the second photo, each plug disassembles like the original for cleaning and inspection. All insulators were machined from millable ceramic using carbide tooling."

Cam Grinding Machine

Final photo shows grinder in use grinding two left lobes of the 1/8" John Deere tractor model engine. The lobes on the right are as they come off the milling machine.

In order to be able to make proper cams for his running engines, Jerry designed and built this camshaft grinder. He used the cast iron base from a discarded table saw. A Federal dial indicator was a $10.00 flea market purchase. The rest was made from bar stock. The power is supplied by the headstock/motor/speed control from his Sherline lathe. Total cost was under $60.00 not including the Sherline power unit. With it he can grind just about any model engine camshaft.

Max. cam length: 6.00"
Max. cam diameter: .750"
Grinding accuracy: .0003"

For his seminar at the April, 2004 North American Model Engineering Society Expo in Detroit Jerry will be detailing the construction and use of this tool.

Back to Jerry Kieffer's main page.

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New Submissions Welcomed

If you have additional information on a project or builder shown on this site that your would like to contribute, please e-mail We also welcome new contributions. Please see our page at for a submission form and guidelines for submitting descriptive copy and photos for a new project.

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This section is sponsored by

Makers of precision miniature machine tools and accessories. Sherline tools are made in the USA.

Sherline is proud to confirm that Jerry Kieffer uses Sherline tools in the production of his small projects.

To learn how your company or organization can sponsor a section in the Craftsmanship Museum, please contact


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