Pop pop boats and Putt Putt boats

These toy Pop-pop engines, or water-impulse engines, date back a hundred years or so. Their origins are obscure, which adds to their charm and mystery. The pop-pop engine is simply a tube of coiled copper that has both its ends in the water. The coil is heated and the boat in which it is installed moves forward.

How this works, in scientific terms, is still open to conjecture and it has been the source of some controversy. What appears to happen is that a little water in the tube flashes into steam, forcing the rest of the water out the back, making the boat go forward (see one of Newton's various laws). The vacuum thus created within the tube then draws in more water and the cycle repeats.

In practice there are many variables, as follows: the length and diameter of the tube, the heat source, the weight of the boat, and whether or not the flame is shielded. Any and all of these will affect performance.

Pop-pops have always been the stepchildren of the steamboat family. They can truly be called steamboats, but they bear little resemblance to a proper Steamboat. They have no moving parts, after all. In the early days of pop-poppery, the German manufacturers often built a thin, flexible metal diaphragm into the water/steam circuit. This diaphragm was dished slightly and, when the water flashed into steam, the thing would spring out, making a noise like a metal cricket that you snap by pressing it with your thumb. That's how the boat got its common name. (The Germans call them toc-toc boats for the same reason.) Similar inexpensive boats are available today from India.

Updated: 28 September 2021

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Pop Pop Boat value and price guide

What's your Pop Pop Boat worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
funko pop movies jaws shark eating boat gamestop Funko Pop Movies Jaws Shark Eating Boat Gamestop 11/2021 $35.00
titanic tin toy steam pop pop boat classic toy replica Titanic Tin Toy Steam Pop Pop Boat Classic Toy Replica 11/2021 $24.00
1979 fischer price 992 pop up camper boat car 1979 Fischer Price 992 Pop Up Camper Boat Car 11/2021 $30.00
funko pop movies it pennywise w boat vinyl figure Funko Pop Movies It Pennywise W Boat Vinyl Figure 11/2021 $11.99
funko pop movies it s2 georgie w boat limited chase Funko Pop Movies It S2 Georgie W Boat Limited Chase 11/2021 $24.99
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices12/2021$-.--

Pop Pop Boat forum

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1 comment
Olav - January 15, 2019
we are interested in buying POP POP boats as murchandize for our trust. Please give up email, phone to come into contact
Ik ben geen distributeur. Geen idee hoeveel pop pop bootjes je nodig hebt, maar je kunt ze in bulk kopen op bv. Alibaba of een andere Chinese website. Je moet er vaak dan wel een paar honderd tegelijk afnemen. Kijk ook even hier rechts, op eBay kun je vaak ook een aantal tegelijk kopen met korting.