Not a typical VMYG topic but it arose during the construction of a
steam yacht powered by a Stuart V10 engine.
Siingle cylinder and single acting two cylinder steam engines are not
self starting. They MAY self start sometimes but if there is a dead
spot in the cycle the engine will not start if it has stopped at that
point. If the engine is equipped with slip eccentric reversing gear
if will only reverse after being spun in the appropriate direction.
One answer is to fit a small electric motor which will kick the engine
into life in the required direction and then disengage. The layout below
uses a friction drive and hinged motor board.
Another very elegant reversing solution has been devised
by Roy Darlington of Sterling engine fame.