Just been catching up on some of the programs I recorded last month. One of which was presented by James May on Toys.
He loves model trains apparently and it showed his layout at home.
Two items did make me smile :-
He visited a model collector who NEVER runs his models and are for display only. All his collection are new and never run. Lets hope people don=92t think we are all like that ! OK each to their own but he did appear to be a bit strange and possessive.
In another section James went to a toy auction to bid on a rail set. He claimed most in the room were collectors but he was going to buy it to =91play=92 with it. He paid about =A3250 for it and when he went to collect it he asked the cashier if they had a litter bin so he could throw away the box=92s :-)
I know this hobby has a wide range of people but like any excess some take it too seriously in my mind but, as I said , =93Each to their own=94.
As a minor collector of old Stowger telephone exhange switches, ANY use WILL lead to eventual failure. Ok, we might be talking many centuries even, but like running old cars, you have to ask after a considerable period, how much of the original car is still there ? The ONLY way to be sure of preserving the original mechanical item as created, is not to use it and store it in an ideal environment. This of course means you are a hobbist and not a collector ! ;-)
IIRC he bought a locomotive plus the Hornby car carrier set and asked the girl at the cashiers counter to chuck the box for the locomotive in the bin.
The collector with his pristine collection of locomotives which have never run did seem a bit obsessive - using a magnifying glass to check the wheels on the locomotives do not have any marks etc.
Mind you, you see locomotives advertised on Ebay which the seller proudly boasts have been displayed and never been run - given they are often years old, the motors may have seized up from not being used!
Like yourself I do not subscribe to the museum of model railways idea
- for me its a hobby which I returned to last year after some years absence. I had to pack up work for health reasons and needed something to pass the time, I enjoy it and find it rewarding and challenging as I model in "N" gauge due to space :)
I am not a big fan of the traditional 'museum' i.e. static objects seen through glass :-( We do visit them with our son. Two stick in my mind :-
The Haynes International Motor Museum & Derby=92s Industrial Museum
The Haynes Museum has some very good exhibits, well laid out and in a clean area but when we got to the bikes I realised I wold have preferred to have seen them going round a track. ( I even offered to do this for them ).
Derby=92s Industrial Museum has an example of one of the Silk motor bikes that used to be manufactured in the city. I used to work very close to the factory and loved the howl of the bikes as they were tested and then filled up with 2 star at the local garage.
Yes preservation IS a balance between use and keeping the original condition but after all these are just models. I do wonder why they don=92t remove the motors and sell them if they are not going to run them ?
Ever been to Snibston - mostly interactive, not delicate, great play areas and a couple of industrial locos and wagons on display(to keep on topic), plus some original mine buildings and wagons outside.
Indeed and no doubt, as things are rebuilt and maintained, modern materials and methods are incorporated, both for convenience and cost saving and therefore if we are really interested in preserving history and retaining an understanding of how thing were done during any given period, untouched preservation is the only answer. For all you toy boys, obviously this is not such an important consideration. :-)
Indeed, if something was destined never to be used, it would never be built in the first place. Preservation, and indeed restoration, is a CELEBRATION of the history, the life and times, even the character, of a piece of machinery, or an entire railway system. If, for example, the Flying Scotsman was built, parked in a shed and never used, would there exist the same interest in its preservation. I suggest not!
Untouched preservation is a strange concept. It's quite obvious to me that you have little if any understanding of the concept of preservation of history. Nature alone will ensure that something preserved will not remain static. No matter what it is, it will deteriorate with time and require some form of maintenance.
If no maintenance is feasible, or alternative use, as in a long disused tramway, then mapping and recording of its history is desirable. The recent bushfires in Victoria have provided an ideal opportunity for this aspect of preservation as they have burnt out the undergrowth that obscured the items of interest, in this case logging tramways. Quite often the only remaining item of industrial archaeology is the tramway formation itself. A clear example of this, and the effects of bushfires, can be seen on the main page of the LRRSA website.
Certainly none of the tender. The loco was rebuilt from an A1 to and A3 therfore it's boiler is far from original, and no doubt many other parts were replaced in the process and at other times. It was carrying an A4 boiler until very recently.
I'm not sure of the point you are making. You speak of preservation "The activity of protecting something", and then infer it should still be used ! To say I have suggested building something and not use it is quite ridiculous and in no way related to maintaining something in the final state in which it was operational.
It is quite clear to me you do not understand the difference between preservation and consumption.
Because of human ingenuity, we have the means to almost eliminate that and thus be able to study and understand earlier technolgies. It's not essential but of interest to some.
It's always an interesting debate, and something of a quandary. I don't see there being a definitive answer. A customer turned up with a Series III Land Rover about 18 months ago with only 3,000 miles on the clock - and that was only put on going to shows in good weather. It's owner, a classic car enthusiast, couldn't decide what to do with it - should he use it or store it - bearing in mind that outside Gaydon museum it was probably lowest mileage one in existence. In the end he decided to use it, as there is an mint one at Gaydon for those interested. Personally I think he did the right thing, but after a write up in a magazine he got what amounted to hate mail for doing so! In short, I think it's down to the owner, be it an individual or museum etc, to make their own judgement. If anyone has a problem with that they should put their money where their mouth is and make it their problem ;-)
I think the bottom line for me, is that you can repair, providing you can use identical materials, configured to the same model.
I was thinking along the lines of a reconstructed Stone age camp. All the time it is constructed from exactly the same materials to the same design, it is a legitimate representation of the history is is attempting to illustrate. As soon as you introduce later products and methods, it simply becomes a modern interpretation.
It was nice of you to snip out the point of yours I was referring to. One point I could make is that the Flying Scotsman, over its working life, would have been repaired with newer materials and technologies than existed at the time of its original construction.
If you "maintain something in the final state in which it was operational", you are, in effect, creating a museum of static displays. I suppose you are referring to such preservation as the "loco on a plinth in a park" that the kids can play on. Maybe even the pristine loco sitting in a museum that you aren't even allowed to get close to. How is that "preservation"? All you've preserved is the icon, a representation of an era. Preserved, it displays none of the characteristics that gave it greatness. On the other hand, a working tourist railway, such as the "Puffing Billy Railway" here in Victoria, provides a living working recreation of an era. People, adults and children alike, can actually ride on a working train hauled by "restored" steam locomotives of a bygone era. Those so inclined can actually volunteer to work on the railway. It is in this way that the skills, techniques and technologies of that bygone era are "preserved". The visitors to the tourist railway aren't just looking at "plinthed icons", they are taking part in the operation of a steam hauled railway system, even as humble passengers.
Is not the Puffing Billy Railway preserved? Is it not also being "consumed"? It is certainly being used! In fact the condition of the locomotives, rolling stock and permanent way is considerably better now than when it was in service as a working railway prior to preservation.
Were it not for the work of a dedicated band of vounteers, the railway would only exist as a track formation through the hills. With luck, it might have been "preserved" as a walking track or bicycle path. You would need a vivid imagination to conjure up the image in your mind of a living working railway if that were the case.
It is surprising how, in the space of a century or so, much of the knowledge of the early technolgies has been lost for all time. You only need to be involved in a research organisation such as the LRRSA for a short time to realise this. Members of the LRRSA preserve the history of the railways but some of them have a bet each way and work in the various tourist railways as well. Tourist operations preserve not only the hardware but also the skills and the technologies of the era.
Yes, we have the means to statically preserve an "icon" forever if need be but do we have the will or, for that matter, the finances?
Getting back to unused models, I have seen many collectors over the years who have incredibly display cabinets full of model trains, model cars, model boats, etc. Some even have these models stored in pristine condition in their boxes. Eventually however, time overtakes the collector and they pass away. Oftentimes, those that follow after don't have the same "appreciation" of these models that the original owner had. I've seen these carefully collected models fall into the hands of the grandchildren or the great grandchildren where they get used, abused, broken and, more often than not, eventually discarded. While I don't like to see it, I often ask myself why the original owner didn't put the collected items to some use and, in so doing, get some active enjoyment from them. These models were designed to be used, not preserved. Models that are designed to be collected are also made. Typically, they don't have an electric motor and have more detail. They are usually less robust as they are designed to be placed in a showcase and never used. They are not designed for the rigours of model railway operation.
Do I have any "collectors items"? Just one, a replica of an E-Type Jaguar that came with its own little plinth and a tag certifying "authenticity". It was on display for many years but eventually became too much of a dust gatherer so was boxed and placed in storage. It was representative of my then frustrated desire to own, and drive, the real thing. Back when it was bought, I couldn't afford the real thing so the replica was the next best thing ... at the time. Now, when I can afford to buy the real thing, I find my values have changed and such a item of phallic symbolism no longer appeals to me. I've been told that my replica is now worth a great deal more than I paid for it. Seems like other collectors have the same frustrated ideals. Maybe I'll put it on EBay and pass it on before I pass on. That will ensure it is "preserved" in the same "unused" state that it is in now. Rest assured the years it was on display didn't "wear it out".
I hope you have some stone age people on hand to provide technical advice on how your stone age camp should be built ... and used.
Oh, now I get it. Your model has to be exactly as it was the day you purchased it. Otherwise it is a modern interpretation. Don't use it for fear something might break and be replaced by a "non original" spare part.
You seem to have forgotten one minor but very important point. Your "model" is a modern interpretation of the "real thing".