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What is a donkey engine?

Find out how the uniquely named donkey engine works and where one is usually found.

An example of a basic donkey engine. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
An example of a basic donkey engine.

A donkey engine is a small auxiliary engine which is usually portable or semi-portable. Powered by steam, compressed air, or other means, it is often used to power a windlass or lift cargo on shipboard.

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