Greetings, Blog Fans. This week we decided to make a return visit to Ironbridge. We went last year about this time as well. During the first visit, we saw the actual bridge, visited the Blists Hill Town living museum and the Museum of the Gorge. For details on those attractions and some good history on the Industrial Revolution in general, see my previous post.
Ironbridge is just over an hour away near the town of Telford.
In March 1938, the Meccano Magazine published a brief article describing an automatic crane of stunning complexity. A single motor drove all the motions of this monster machine, capable of building complex structures from wooden blocks automatically. From the original photograph, it was difficult to tell if Gargantua was even made from Meccano, or whether it could really do all that was claimed. Nobody had ever built anything so ambitious in Meccano.
A full description and more detailed photographs lay hidden for nearly half a century until the Liverpool Meccano factory was demolished. [they were eventually published]
. . . I [Chris Shutte] built the Robot programmer in June 1997 and met the originator's widow and son. They encouraged me to build the whole crane, which I did during the following 12 months, about 400 hours work.
And here it is in this little museum (though we didn't get to see it in action). My erector sets never quite turned out like this.
Alex feeding a "boiler" fuel (red balls) and water (spinning wheel) to generate energy (blue balls at the top).
Alex's building before the earthquake.
Alex and Kuk trying to assemble various cubes out of different shapes.
Great time at the museum. Highly recommended. Next stop was the Museum of Iron next door.
The photo above shows the previous method of making charcoal. This required a lot of wood that was smoldered to finally generate the charcoal. Once Darby figured out how to use coke (from coal) such that the sulfur bi-product didn't mix the iron, the Industrial Revolution was on its way.
Massive Aga Cooker made out of Cast Iron. I hear these are considered posh now.
Back to they sunny outside and a closer shot of the old furnace.
an interesting glass (artisan) store nearby
cool piece here -- knock a zero off and I would have bought it
Royal Crown Derby.
All and all, it was another nice day out. Really liked the Enginuity Museum from this trip and walking in Ironbridge and visiting the Victorian Museum from the last trip. Glad we split it into two trips as it is too much to see at once.
Masa's which we've been to a few times before. The food was good but the service was pretty slow even for British standards. It took about 40 minutes to flag someone down for the bill and to pay. Not the note you want to leave on. I think we'll use Darley's for special occasions from now on.
and a strawberry creme brulee for dessert
for completeness, I had a cheese and roasted pepper cannelloni starter
horse beef main (we've had some horse meat stories in the news here, primarily in the cheaper prepared food; everyone says the beef tastes different here . . . .) [this beef was good]
Have a good week everyone.