Two examples of a live steam engine kit include a Fleischmann live steam stationary steam engine and a Stanley Steamer automobile model. These miniature models represent smaller versions of authentic steam engines produced in the late 1800s.
As the name implies, a live steam engine uses actual steam to move parts on the model. A boiler heats water until it produces steam, and the steam builds up enough pressure to push a cylinder that transfers power to a wheel. The wheel, in turn, moves machinery such as a locomotive or even an old-fashioned automobile. In large live steam engines, a safety valve fits to the boiler to prevent extreme pressure from causing an explosion.