Powerhouse Museum Collection object 2012/17/1.
‘Save your Burnt-out Lamps. Repairs guaranteed equal to new.’ This line appeared in Sydney newspaper ads from 1918 to 1920. The small ads included an eye-catching drawing of a light globe with ‘OLD LAMPS MADE NEW’ written inside it. The Electric Lamp Repairing Company had a receiving depot in the city and a factory in the inner suburb of Redfern. The company could repair both metal filament lamps like this one and the original type of lamp, which had a carbon filament.
Aibo entertainment robot. Powerhouse Collection object 2000/12/1.
On 24 November 2013, the Powerhouse Museum will host a Mini Maker Faire. This is a spin-off from the US Maker Faire movement, which encourages individuals to make things and share the joy of making. We don’t plan to have our Aibo robotic dog on display for the event, but we do expect some exciting robots to visit along with their makers. There will be other electronic projects, an interactive musical instrument and 3D printers in action, plus food, jewellery, handbags and other accessories made by people who are passionate about the making process.
Powerhouse Museum Collection object B1465. Gift of the Shell Company, 1961.
Young Sydney engineer Frank Hammond invented the ‘visible volumetric’ petrol pump around 1920 and licensed his patent rights to manufacturers in Australia and the UK. Garages purchased visible pumps to ensure that they were supplying an accurately measured volume of petrol, or ‘motor spirit’, to each customer. They wanted to convince customers that they were getting a fair deal, they didn’t want to lose money by supplying more petrol than customers paid for, and they wanted an innovative edge over competing garages.
Prototype ‘gold box’ cochlear implant or bionic ear, 1979. Powerhouse Museum collection 2011/10/1. Gift of Professor Graeme Clark and the University of Melbourne, 2011
Recent news of a bionic eye prototype being tested by Bionic Vision Australia is exciting for medical device research in Australia. There’s a number of other ‘retinal prosthesis’ devices being developed in Australia and overseas. This competition between different ideas and systems indicates it’s the right time for this concept to flourish.
Regional Services inter n Tom Harwood -Curator at the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach in Queensland, Image: Michael Myers.
Recently, I spent a week as a guest at the Powerhouse Museum as part of a mentorship through Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. I was asked to write about an item I discovered while I was there but it’s been a difficult choice.
Being an older bloke who remembers some of what was said about the Leyland P-76 when it was new, I was stunned to find that anybody (Castle Hill Discovery Centre) actually put one on a pedestal!
2007/77/8 Photograph, Sydney Harbour, paper, photograph by James Hancock, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, owned by Joyce White, Perth, Western Australia, 1939-1945. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
In recent years the sight of Sydney Harbour filled with navy ships is not a very common sight, particularly war ships.
On Friday 4th October, 2013 the harbour will again be filled with war ships, this time from 20 nations to mark the centenary of the arrival of Australia’s first fleet of seven warships in 1913.
Powerhouse Museum Collection, object H3204a. Gift of Navy Office, Department of Defence, 1924.
To mark the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy, I’ve chosen to feature this naval phone, one of several that were crucial to the operation of the navy’s first flagship, HMAS Australia. I have a particular interest in that ship because my grandfather served on it for much of the First World War. The ‘loud-speaking’ hands-free voice-activated phone was used to communicate between the bridge and engine room. It was made by Alfred Graham and Co in London, the company that also supplied phones to the Royal Navy and the Titanic. The speaker’s voice caused a metal diaphragm to vibrate, which moved a wire coil within a magnetic field. This generated sufficient current to power the phone.
Hammerhead crane, Garden Island, Sydney, 17.8.2013. Photo by Phillip Simpson.
Meccano model builders, industrial archaeologists and lovers of Sydney’s history were bitterly disappointed recently when the Navy announced on 8 August 2013 that the giant hammerhead crane towering over the Garden Island Naval Depot on Sydney Harbour will be demolished. According to the National Trust for NSW’s ‘Our Heritage at Risk’ web site, it’s “the largest crane in the Southern Hemisphere and it remains unique in Australia. Built to lift up to 250 tons, it is one of a series of cranes built around the world to service the British Navy fleet and, as such, demonstrates Australia’s position in the former British Empire”. Continue reading
Powerhouse Museum Collection object K50. Gift of Florence Violet McKenzie, 1976.
To mark this year’s Engineering Week, I decided to feature Florence Violet Wallace, aka Florence McKenzie or Mrs Mac, a 1923 graduate of Sydney Technical College who later donated her diploma to the Museum. She was also a path-breaker, teacher, author, lobbyist and wartime leader, a woman who foresaw a need, set out to address it boldly and selflessly, and did so with great success.
85/885 Toy wringer, USA, c 1900. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
The life of women changed significantly with domestic design innovations of the 1950s and 60s, with access to time- saving devices like washing machines. With the advent of washing machines, fridges, kitchen whiz’s and hills hoist to name a few, the lives of housewives of the 60s was vastly different to their mothers. Continue reading