Brumm X6 Veicolo a Turbine di Verbiest (1681)

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This model is the Brumm X6 1681 Verbiest Turbine Vehicle in black with gold boiler. It was issued as part of the "Old Fire" series. The real vehicle was proposed by Ferdinand Verbiest circa 1681, but it has never been confirmed the vehicle was actually constructed.

Father Ferdinand Verbiest (9 October 1623 – 28 January 1688) was a Flemish Jesuit missionary in China during the Qing dynasty. He was born in Pittem near Tielt in the County of Flanders (now part of Belgium).[2] He is known as Nan Huairen (南懷仁) in Chinese. He was an accomplished mathematician and astronomer and proved to the court of the Kangxi Emperor that European astronomy was more accurate than Chinese astronomy. He then corrected the Chinese calendar and was later asked to rebuild and re-equip the Beijing Ancient Observatory, being given the role of Head of the Mathematical Board and Director of the Observatory.

He became close friends with the Kangxi Emperor, who frequently requested his teaching, in geometry, philosophy and music.

Verbiest worked as a diplomat and cartographer, and also as a translator, because he spoke Latin, German, Dutch, Spanish, Hebrew, and Italian. He wrote more than thirty books.

During the 1670s, Verbiest designed what some claim to be the first ever self-propelled vehicle – many claim this as the world's first automobile, in spite of its small size and the lack of evidence that it was actually built.

Verbiest was known to have experimented with steam. Around 1672 he designed – as a toy for the Chinese Emperor – a steam-propelled trolley which was, quite possibly, the first working steam-powered vehicle ('auto-mobile'). Verbiest describes it in his manuscript Astronomia Europea that was finished in 1681. A friar brought it to Europe and it was then printed in 1687 in Germany. In this work, Verbiest first mentioned the (latin) term motor in its present meaning. With one filling of coal, he wrote that the vehicle was able to move more than one hour.[18] As it was only 65 cm (25.6 in) long, and therefore effectively a scale model, not designed to carry human passengers, nor a driver or goods, it is not strictly accurate to call it a 'car'.[19] Despite this, it was the first vehicle that was able to move by 'self-made' engine power.

Since the steam engine was still not known at that time, Verbiest used the principle of an aeolipile. Steam was generated in a ball-shaped boiler, emerging through a pipe at the top, from where it was directed at a simple, open "steam turbine" (rather like a water wheel) that drove the rear wheels.

It is not verified by other known sources if Verbiest's model was ever built at the time and there does not exist any authentic drawing of it, although he had access to China's finest metal-working craftsmen who were constructing precision astronomical instruments for him.

The Brumm model
The Italian model manufacturer Brumm produced a non-working 1:43 scale model of the Veicolo a turbina de Verbiest (1681) [sic], in their "Old Fire" range of 2002. This model was 9 cm (3.54 in) long, which, when scaled-up, would have suggested that Verbiest's original would have been nearly 4 metres (13 ft 1 in) in length.

By Unknown - 18th century print. Reproduction in [], Public DomainHowever, comparison with drawings in Hardenberg's study show that this model is not the same as Verbiest's. It is actually modelled on a small steam turbine car built in the late 18th century (presumably 1775) by a German mechanic that was inspired by Verbiest's vehicle but different, for example, with only three wheels. Unfortunately, the original was probably destroyed during a bombing raid on the Technische Hochschule Karlsruhe during World War II. However, a photo of the original car can be seen at the Deutsches Museum. Hardenberg notes that this steam turbine car operated on the same principle as Verbiest's carriage (the impulse turbine), but employed a more modern arrangement of the drive train.

Source: Wikipaedia (

At the front is a silver metal wheel, attached to the front arm. This wheel is movable to provide steering(?). Behind this is the black metal base (firebox) and chassis or body of the vehicle. On the right side of the model are the words "X6, Brumm" on two lines. On the left of the model is "1/43, Made In Italy" on two lines.

Above the black body sits the gold boiler with black pipe and gold nozzle which, on the real vehicle, ejected steam onto the driving cog (silver) a the rear. Below this are two further toothed wheels that supplied the drive to the rear wheels. The rear wheels are standard carriage wheels, painted green and black. There is no glazing on the model.

There is no base plate as such, the base is plain and part of the body casting.

The exact date of issue is currently unknown, however the Old Fire series was first released in 1976, and this model is thought to date from 2002. It comes in the standard Brumm Old Fire Series packaging (red card window box) with an information card, printed in Italian and English, and has a stated scale of 1:43.

Item: 3955