The ceremony designating the John Penn engine on the Diesbar as a Historic Engineering Landmark took place on 2nd July aboard the steamer. A photo of the plaque is attached. We have also been sent a copy of the booklet which was produced for the occasion - this gives lots of historical information.
The paddle steamer is one of a fleet which works on the River Elbe in Saxony and has done so since the mid-19th. The Penn engine is in the steamer Diesbar built in 1884, and the only coal fired Dresden steamer. The Penn engine however dates from 1841 and was originally installed in the wooden paddle steamer Bohemia. A new crankshaft was fitted to the engine in 1853 by Krupp of Essen and the engine was then transferred to the Statd Meissen and then in the Diesbar in 1884.
The engine was built at the world famous Penn works on Blackheath Hill. John Penn had been making steam engines for marine purposes since 1825 and by the 1840s, under John Penn Jnr., was the leading manufacturer supplying engines for Admiralty and Royal Mail contracts. One notable advance was the development of the oscillating engine of the type which is on the Diesbar. By 1878 the company had supplied 735 ships with engines and the firm continued until 1899 when it merged with Thames Ironworks, which eventually closed in 1914.