Often would Geoffrey Bowman Jenkins say to his son Paul, that it was one thing to make a flywheel go round, but quite a different matter for a loc to pull something. He was dismissive of competitors who just made nice 'flywheel turners', which were all speed, but no power. Several of Bowman's stationary engines could lift over a 100 pound load in a suitably geared Meccano crane, while his 234 locs could pull immense loads on the track. At the 'British Industries Fair' of February 1928, his new 234 tender loc could be seen pulling six large coaches without any problems for days on end! In fact, over the 10 day duration of the exhibition, it actually covered more than 180 miles. It was such a success that Bowman was overwhelmed with orders from the likes of Hamleys and Gamages.
Bowman began his career in model steam with a partnership with Hobbies Ltd, in Deerham, in 1923. Their first product was a line of live steam powered boats, with Hobbies building the hull, and GBJ producing the steam plant. Bowman soon expanded out into stationary steam engines, probably around 1927. They also introduced a line of live steam locomotives shortly thereafter.
Bowman appears to have discontinued it's live steam line around 1935, leaving Hobbies Ltd without a supplier of live steam engines. That void was filled by another Geoffrey - Geoffrey Malins, who was shortly to form his own company, Mamod.
The Bowman name was not to disappear from live steaming. Bowman was reincarnated during the postwar boom, operating out of Luton, Bedfordshire. While the company did use the red archer emblem from the original Bowman firm, there does not appear to be any other direct connection between the two companies. Geoffrey Bowman Jenkins family believes that this was operated by a Captain Smart, a cousin of Geoffrey.
What's your Bowman Steam worth? Here are some recently sold items.
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