May 9, 2010

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Filed under: Pictures — admin @ 11:49 pm

Dear friends,

This Sunday was the Celebration of Steam weekend at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and a good an excuse as any to take my younger son to play with steam. Read on…

– Fzz

Steam fire pump

July 6, 2008

Filed under: Pictures — admin @ 12:12 am

Dear friends,

Thanks to a suggestion from OutaSpaceman, we journeyed down to the Hollycombe Steam Collection in Hampshire for their Festival of Steam. My youngest son is obsessed with trains, but even he was occasionally enticed off the rails onto the fabulous Edwardian steam-powered fairground rides today. A wonderful day out and a great hit with the kids. If you’re ever in the area, please pay them a visit.

My pictures are here.


Steam Yatch Ride

June 22, 2008

Heat Ray of Death

Filed under: Pictures — admin @ 11:06 pm

Dear friends,

It’s midsummer and we had a beautiful sunny day today. Perfect to demonstrate the awe-inspiring power of the sun, focused through our giant lens into the heat ray of death (at least to any ants that wander into its path). Cardboard catches fire instantaneously, wood burns in a few seconds, plastic melts and water boils. And the swirling smoke in the sunlight makes the focus of the light wonderfully clear. Lots of fun for apprentice pyromaniacs.



More pictures are here.

giant lens

April 5, 2008

Dinosaur Safari

Filed under: Pictures — admin @ 6:45 pm

Dear friends,

Today saw us journey to the far reaches of Penge on the trail of the elusive thunder lizards. Pictured below is the inestimable Herr Döktor, our expedition leader, having just found the first sign of their presence. We have many more pictures from the Safari and picnic.



Herr Doctor

February 26, 2008

California State Railroad Museum

Filed under: Pictures — admin @ 11:21 am

Dear friends,

On Sunday my son and I were forced down from the mountains early by a huge snow storm, so we took the opportunity to call in at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento on our way back to San Francisco. The museum isn’t huge, and as it was winter they didn’t have any locomotives in steam, but what they do have is a glorious celebration of the pioneering years of rail in California. Lots of lovely shiny brass; almost too shiny in a way – these engines somehow don’t quite seem as real to me as they would have if they’d been a little more dirty. But they’re still wonderful nonetheless.

Many more pictures are here.


brassy steam

December 28, 2007

Gastown Steam Clock

Filed under: Pictures — admin @ 1:09 am

Dear friends,

December found me in Vancouver, one of my favorite cities with its stunning location overlooking both the sea and the mountains. Vancouver is also home to the rather wonderful Gastown Steam Clock. The clock is fairly recent, being built in 1977, but it’s decidedly steampunk nonetheless. A small steam engine is powered from the steam supply used for commercial heating, and raises two-inch steel balls to the top of the clock. These then fit into hooks on a descending chain, and drive a conventional pendulum clock in the same way that the falling weights power our grandfather clock at home. The steam whistles on the top of the clock then sound the quarter hours in style. What a wonderful idea!

More pictures are over here.



Gastown Steam Clock

October 1, 2007

Prospect Park

Filed under: Pictures — admin @ 6:36 am

Today was a beautiful day in New York City, and at the suggestion of Mr Fats and Dr von Zarkov, I decided to explore Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and Green-Wood Cemetery nearby. What a lovely peaceful afternoon.

This is the old boathouse. The boat is the PV Independence, an electric boat.

And poor Mr Wood (indeed, that is his name) seems to be doing battle with the trees which are invading his mausoleum.

May 13, 2007

The Airship “Beta”

Filed under: Pictures — admin @ 12:49 am

In the London Science Museum there is a wonderful aviation gallery; it’s not huge, but they have planes through the ages, including the Vickers Vimy that Alcock and Brown first flew non-stop across the Atlantic in 1919, eight years before Lindberg’s solo flight. They also have a fabulous collection of aeroplane engines, including the Maybach engine from a Zeppelin. But what really captured my imagination was the gondola from the airship Beta. Doesn’t this just make you want to build your own personal airship?

More pictures.

Gondola of the airship Beta

April 20, 2007

Radio Valves

Filed under: Pictures — admin @ 12:36 am

Dear friends,

Hidden away on the 7th floor of the ugliest building at University College London are a couple of glass display cabinets. Almost no-one knows they are there, and most people pass by without noticing them. Which is a shame, because the contents are really rather remarkable. Here is a collection from the very dawn of electronics, commemorating John Ambrose Fleming’s invention of the thermionic valve (or tube if you’re American).

I hope you find my pictures interesting.



Fleming valve

April 13, 2007

Steam Power

Filed under: Pictures — admin @ 11:02 pm

Dear friends,

Here are a few pictures from my archives, of assorted steam locomotives, traction engines, and oddball machinery. Most of these date from the late 19th century, or very early 20th century.

- Fzz

PS. I just added some more pictures of strange unusual steam power: Fairlie Engines and Mountain Railways.

Traction Engines