Boaz Steam Engine - $$6.00

A paper model of a steam engine that actually runs. It's powered by blowing air through a straw.

John Boaz and his Mystical Machines

John Boaz and his Mystical Machines

John Boaz and his Black 5
Sample of John's work (not for sale)

I describe myself as a retired architect with a lifelong interest in mathematics and too much time on my hands.

I live in Surrey UK with my longsuffering wife Marie, we have triplets aged 37, 37 and 37.

Two girls live locally and our son is in New York City. We have 3 grandchildren and I wouldn’t let any of them within 10 yards of my models. I say that children have to be at least 24 and accompanied by a responsible adult.

I think that the best toy of the 20th century, nay ever, is Meccano. I was given my first set at about 4. I can remember that my father used to borrow it to make a coil winding machine. He was a radio engineer in the beginnings of radio. During the 2nd world war, he would spend his evenings with a set of headphones taking down Morse. I learnt later that he was one of the “ears” who sent the transcripts to Bletchley Park where they were disseminated by those clever people cracking the Enigma codes. Ears could also recognise the “fist” of the sender, that is, their habits and style. Thus it was possible, by triangulation, to track troop movements.

I think that the wisest and most consoling words he ever said to me were, “A man who never made a mistake, never made anything”.

Of course I learnt Morse at a very early age and more bizarrely, the alphabet backwards. He said that it would come in useful – it hasn’t so far.

My earliest recollection of card models was of “cut out” books and more particularly Micromodels and the time spent afterwards peeling balsa cement from fingertips.

I still have a rather battered model of “Showboat Cotton Blossom” and I have a better preserved model of the Emmett 1951 Festival railway engine Nellie and two carriages constructed from a cut out book. The book, cost 2/6d (We called it half a dollar). The acrylic case made a year or so ago to protect it cost me £50!

I am particularly fascinated in models that do something, that is, move. I suppose that was in contrast to my day job when they shouldn’t.

Card is such a wonderful material and it has never been easier to obtain such a range of different models. And it has never been cheaper either. Just think of the value of half a dollar in 1951.

In these days of instant gratification it is good to know that there are people prepared to add something of themselves and not expect it to “work straight from the box”.

Nellie by John Boaz
Another sample of John's work (also not for sale)

Of course one of the coolest things about machines is they move!


But have you ever seen an engine made out of paper that actually runs?

Well, John has made some of them for us. (You're not going to believe this!)

All of the models below are included when you buy this folder

This paper model engine operates from air blown through a straw. We're working on a way to power it with air from a balloon.
This one operates by the turning of a solar powered display stand. It could be the end of the internal combustion engine as we know it!

Yellow Crab - Here is the moving crab model in action. It's powered with a small rubber band mechanism underneath.

Steampunk Steamer - This one is also powered with the solar display module.

This is the "High Time" clock. It tilts up to to show you the hour. A separate one can be build for the minutes. Requires a small electric clockworks to make it operate

Get all the John Boaz models in your folder when you order the steam engine above.


Scott Fyn - This is amazing. John is still modeling and you never know what he will come up with next!