Photo of the Day

photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum

A cracking contraption?

February 5th, 2013 by

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This intriguing object had been sitting in our workshop for some weeks when I happened to see Curator, Debbie Rudder giving it the once over.

So what is it? I had imaged it was something from Wallace and Gromit. With its prominent rivets, inlet holes (at both ends) and large chimney it is easy to imagine this contraption firing large globs of dough (or Wensleydale) into a mixing vat or special oven. The object is even on railway tracks like many of Wallace’s machines.

Debbie was able to put the record straight. The object is a model Manhès copper converter dating from the 1880s. It is a full or half scale model of a device that improved copper purity from 50% to 99% and used about 80% less fuel than older methods for achieving the same result.
It had been brought into the workshop for examination by visiting metallurgist, Dr Phillip Mackey from Canada.

Definitely a real life ‘cracking contraption’!

Post by Lynne McNairn

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