Signalling Equipment Ltd. was 1 of 2 trading names used (the other was Merit) by J & L Randall Ltd., Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, a British Toy Manufacturer. They made 5 steam engines between 1946 & 1965, and were one of Mamod's successful competitors. Whilst their engines, with the exception of the 1560 Marine engine, are a regular item on ebay, their accessories are less common and can command high prices. The boilers, steam pipes, cylinders, lubricators and burners were painted with a gold paint which was not resistant to direct flames and thus many survivors have been cleaned of this paint. Without any accompanying paperwork it is difficult to date these engines.
SEL 1520 Minor
The smallest engine in the range, this has a firebox mounted cylinder with the driveshaft mounted through the firebox to the flywheel and pulley. It has a single wick meths burner (which is in the direct path of the above driveshaft), safety valve but no water level plug.
This is my SEL 1520 Minor Steam Engine. It was sold on ebay as 'all complete', however the safety valve had been glued up, the bolt/spring from the valve rattles around in the boiler, 2 end flaps on the box have detached but are still present, and there is no funnel. Safety valve has been replaced, and this engine runs very well.
SEL 1530 Junior
Next one up in the range of engines, this has an aluminium bracket mounted cylinder with the offset driveshaft mounted through the firebox with the flywheel on the cylinder side and a pulley on the opposite side. It has a single wick meths burner, safety valve and water level plug.
This is my SEL 1530 Junior Steam Engine. This was the first SEL engine I purchased on ebay, and it had the burner nozzle fitted upside down on the burner tray. On my first steaming this ended up with a meths fire which I had to put out with water. Reducing the level of meths in the burner had no effect on the 2nd steaming (another meths fire), and it was only when I tried reversing the burner nozzle that I got a satisfactory run. This engine has obviously worked hard, and there is evidence of solder repairs around the boiler (which I need to clean up), and the hole for the driveshaft on the pulley side of the firebox has enlarged. Thus it runs but with some play on the driveshaft.
SEL 1540 Standard
The standard engine in the range, this has a bakelite frame mounted cylinder with the driveshaft mounted to the firebox with a flywheel and pulley. It has a two wick meths burner, safety valve, water level plug and inline displacement lubricator.
This is my SEL 1540 Standard Steam Engine. It was described on ebay as 'saved from a loft find, and has been fully restored'. This meant that the baseplate and firebox had been repainted, and all the gold paint removed, but it was missing the burner. A two wick meths burner has come from another SEL engine I bought for spares. This runs very well, particularly as it has the lubricator.
SEL 1550 Major
The biggest engine in the range, this is a 2 cylinder model, and the only one to feature a whistle. It has 2 bakelite frame mounted cylinders with the driveshaft mounted between these frames with a flywheel and pulley. It has a two wick meths burner, safety valve, water level plug, inline displacement lubricator and whistle.
This is my SEL 1550 Major Steam Engine. It is actually made up from 2 engines, with the boiler and firebox coming from the 2nd engine that I bought for spares. The safety valve has been fitted to my 1520 Minor engine above, so that glued up safety valve needs repairing or a replacement sourced. It runs very well.
SEL 1560 Marine
The rarest of the SEL engines, this was an engine only with no boiler, which has a larger cylinder than the rest of the range, and was designed to be used in a boat with a suitable boiler. When SEL stopped trading the remaining 1560 Marine engines were acquired by Mamod and used in their ME3 Marine engines. Both the 1560 and ME3 engines are a rare items and command very high prices on ebay. However I'll keep trying to acquire a 1560 engine.
Model Circular Saw
This is a recent purchase on ebay. It looks unused, although the box has lost a flap and has some tears. The coloured box indicates it is a later version.
I have 2 other accessories en-route via ebay, and will continue to look out for others.