Development on the Jumo 004 Turbojet engine began in 1939 under the direction of Anselm Franz, whose experience with turbo compressors was built on the pioneering turbojet work of Hans von Ohain. The model 004A flew for the first time on 1942, but was not suitable for production because of its high weight, and large content of high-temperature alloys that were in short supply in Germany.  The 004B production model was easier to manufacture, weighed less and utilized air cooling of the combustor turbine blades, and exhaust nozzle.

  The first production engines were delivered in mid-1943, and volume production began in 1944 with approximately 6,000 Jumo 004 engines being manufactured by the end of World War II in 1945.  The Jumo 004B was the world's first mass-produced turbojet engine, and first to incorporate afterburning and a variable area exhaust nozzle.  Although its major application was the Me 262 fighter, it also powered the Ar 234 twin-engine light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft.

The engine on display has the serial number 3274 was originally fitted to Messerschmitt Me262a-1 werk nr 500443 that served with Jagtgeschwader JG/7 and was intended for shipment to the USA after capture.  Instead, the aircraft was was transported from 71 Maintenance Unit RAF to 6 Maintenance Unit at Brize Norton, England in November 1945.  From there, the aircraft went to 47 Maintenance Unit, then to Birkenhead prior to being shipped off to South Africa.

After arrival in South Africa in November 1946, the aircraft was transferred to 68 Air School in Lyttleton where both engines were removed and utilised for instructional purposes.  This engine was donated to the SAAF Museum in November 1973 while the other engine, since sectioned, was acquired during February 1979.  The sectioned engine is now on display at the SAAF Museum at Ysterplaat in Cape Town.  After arrival in November 1946, the Me262 was allocated the SAAF serial number 201 but this was never applied.  The aircraft was later sold for a nominal sum to the Benoni South Technical School in 1950 but was scrapped three years later.