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Early Days - A pair of 'Peter Pan' engine units c.1923-1925

These were made by Geoffrey Bowman Jenkins' first named firm,"The Woodcraft Patents Co" for Hobbies Ltd of Dereham and could be had either in the 'Peter Pan' model steam launch or purchased separately as a stationary engine. Note that there are several differences between the two examples above. The tiny piston was only 6mm in diameter.




        Wormar 'Elite'            Hobbies 'Hercules'          Hobbies 'Demon'        

 These are fine examples of the rarest Bowman built engines and date from around 1927. The 'Elite'  was built for Worboys & Smart of Luton and the 'Hercules' and 'Demon' for Hobbies Ltd, of Dereham. SPECIAL NOTE - sometime during 1926, Geoffrey Bowman Jenkins changed his firm's name to 'Bowman Models'.



A  representative range of used Bowman steam engines

Back row left to right: M122, M140 and E101. Front row left to right: M175, M130, M135, M158


The famous Bowman 234 express locomotive

This above loco is in a sound, used and original condition. It comes boxed with instructions, burner blanking caps, tie-on label, tube of grease and filler funnel. Having all the bits and pieces adds to the model's value. Note the later version fluted connecting rod.



 234 express locomotive with brake van

This example shows what a skilled engineer can achieve. Bowman Circle member Don Bowerman built the loco, tender and guard van from scrap. They are a faithful reproduction in every detail and one would be hard pressed to tell them apart from an original. Articles detailing how Don built these masterpieces were serialised in previous editions of the Bowman News.


Bowman 265 loco with wagons and brake van

The above  'Goods Set' is very collectable in this condition.




The Hobbies-Bowman 'Snipe' steam speedboat


The Eagle, Seahawk, Snipe and Swallow launched in the late spring of 1930 were the last word in Bowman steam driven boat designs.




Th late Max Bowman Jenkins launching one of his father's c.1931 Hobbies-Bowman 'Tiger' clockwork boats on Eaton Park Pond, Norwich in 2004.



A late 1951 'Dragonfly' cedar wood racing yacht just launched by Max at Eaton Park in 2004. The yacht was built by Max to his father's design.




 'Gull' Racing Yacht

The 18 inch long 'Gull' on the right was introduced in 1958. The 'Heron' left was based on the Gull and was to be GBJ's last design before his untimely death in 1959. The Heron had a fitted rudder but this was not always the case with the Gull, as in the example above. Only a limited number of Herons were made and consequently are quite rare. They should not be confused with the earlier and much larger B26 Heron which was of totally different design and build.




Plastic Comes to Ridlington

The c.1968 'Olympic Series'  desgned by Max, was the first plastic hulled Bowman yacht to be brought to the market. The above example with plastic deck, cabin and boat dates from 1970





Hobbies "Arrow"

The Hobbies "Arrow" was designed by Martin Flegg when he was Business Development Manager of Hobbies (Dereham) Limited. It first featured in the Autumn 2004 edition of the Bowman News in an illustrated article written by Martin.The lines and general appearance of the craft were based on the Hobbies-Bowman "Snipe", but built around a modern U.S.E. single cylinder steam plant. Circle member Colin Andrews built the above model during the Christmas 2005 holidays and it's construction is detailed in the Summer 2006 edition. Built to a very high standard, it is a pleasure to see this craft speeding across club ponds. Colin said he improved the stability and handling of the craft on tight turns by modifying the rudder shape and settings. He noted too that the hull is much heavier than the Bowman models. The power source was based on a Bowman M140 twin cylinder steam engine, modified into an 'in-line vertical twin' configuration and fitted with cylinder lubricators. Most importantly, an oil separator to conform with environmental regulations has been fitted as has a needle valve steam regulator for fine speed contol.This engine is almost self starting, smooth running and has plenty of torgue. To accomodate the larger engine unit and removable meths burner, Colin increased the boat's length from 24 to 26 inches. Radio control to the steering is fitted. For those interested in obtaining a kit of this lovely model and other fascinating craft items, please visit  Hobbies website at www.alwayshobbies.com





 These products were in no way associated with Geoffrey Bowman Jenkins and were built by the Luton firm of Bowman Models who traded under this name between late 1945-49. It was not intended to put these models on the website, but after several requests, they have been included to clarify the situation. Four steam launches and four stationary engines were produced, along with other items including toy scales and a toy casino game. The steam engines (except the PW.204) cannot be classed as rare although the overtype (PW.202) is perhaps a little more difficult to find. The four launches are most attractive and are popular among collectors.



 A fine Luton Bowman collection

Stationary engines - left PW.203, right - bottom PW.201, top PW.202

Launches from top to bottom - 'Sea Jay', 'Snipe', 'Swallow'



The very rare PW.204

This utilised the the PW.203 boiler, burner and box and the twin cylinder engine from the 'Seahawk' launch. An extremely rare and sought after model. Only two are known to Colin Laker




The Seahawk completes the Luton Bowman launch set. It is a little smaller than the Sea Jay but larger than the Snipe and Swallow. It has a twin oscillating cylinder horizontally opposed engine unit, while the two smaller craft have single cylinder units. The Sea Jay is fitted with the superb valveless twisting piston reciprocating engine. This engine could be purchased separately and is shown below.



The 'Bowman-Bryant' Engine

Note - This masterpiece was designed by the late Mr F. J. Bryant of Luton. For further reading on the subject, the viewer is recommended to read  Basil Harley's article on the Luton Bowman venture in the 1-14 December 1978 Model Engineer (Volume 144 Number 3598) pages 1399-1401. Basil Harley was President of the Bowman Circle from Autumn 1995 until his death in the Autumn of 1999.

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