James May TOYS

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 dont 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 play with it. He paid about 250 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 boxs :-)
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 , Each to their own.
Chris
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wrote:

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 ! ;-)
Andy
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When I think of collectors, I think of those people who spend thousands on centuries-old bottles of wine which are undrinkable.
--
Jane
British OO, American and Australian HO, and DCC in the garden
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As can keeping them and doing nothing with them. How many have been ruined by reactions between the model and packaging materials?
Interesting article in Model Rail about the state of many of the models at the National Railway Museum.
Might as well get some real enjoyment and play with them as was intended.
MBQ
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One real rail prototype example which comes to mind - how much of Flying Scotsman is still original?
Duncan
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wrote:

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. :-)
Andy
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Andy Cap wrote:

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.
Krypsis
Member LRRSA www.lrrsa.org.au
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wrote:

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.

And nothing I have said negates that.

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On Thu, 07 May 2009 09:47:29 +0100, Andy Cap wrote:

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 ;-)
Cheers Richard
--
I have become...............comfortably numb

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wrote:

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.
ATB ANdy
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Andy Cap wrote:

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".
Your whole premise is based upon hypocrisy.
Krypsis
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beamends wrote:

The point I would make is that the original owner did in fact use the Land Rover. After all, it did have 3,000 miles on the odometer. He actually drove it to shows risking damage. I wonder why he bought it in the first place as it certainly wasn't a "classic" when he picked it up from the dealer when new. It was age that made it a classic, that and the use that its siblings were put to over their life spans.
Krypsis
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Andy Cap wrote:

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?
<snip>
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".
Krypsis
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It really is a shame you haven't learnt to snip. Your post are sooooo long. I can't be bothered with them.
Get a dictionary and look up :-
PRESERVATION
REPLICATION
If you want to create rides for the kiddies, that's fine, but don't confuse it with preserving historical items and yes models can be historical models too. I really have nothing to add.
G'day Andy
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Andy Cap wrote:

It's a shame you haven't learnt to read long posts. Finding it difficult to keep up with the flow? Not surprising then that you have such a simplistic view of preservation and replication.

I am already sufficiently conversant with the English language, if you don't mind.

What's wrong with imbuing the younger generation with a sense of the history of railways? Those kiddies are your future model railway buffs.

The NA Locomotives at the Puffing Billy Tourist Railway are rather good examples of "preserved and operational historical items" and the Climax, when restoration is complete, will also be a good example. They will also provide rides for kiddies. Hey, the best of both worlds.
> and yes models can be historical models too.
But only if they themselves are OLD. Otherwise they are just replicas of historical railway equipment.

I knew that when you first started spouting.
Krypsis
<snip>
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"Duncan" wrote

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.
John.
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How much of it was "still original" (i.e., as originally built) at the time it entered preservation?
MBQ
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Duncan wrote:

And how much of was original 1923 when BR retired it!
Chris
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Many people refer to steam locomotives as being 'alive' .... and I agree. Sitting in a shed and mothballed is, to my mind, not the way to keep an active interest in steam going.
They have an old carriage at Butterley which is made mostly of timber. It has almost rotted away and is past restoration but will be preserved. A new one is to be built using traditional materials. That to me is ideal as we keep a part of our history and we are able to touch / ride on a new carriage as would someone some 90 plus years ago.
Just like people why should old loco's be retired ?
Chris
It's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of fight in the dog.
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On Thu, 7 May 2009 15:24:21 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@o2.co.uk wrote:

[snip]
One reason is that in some cases, what's being preserved is not (especially) the loco but the methods and practices of the time of withdrawal/preservation.
Examples would be "Lode Star" and "Caerphilly Castle", which preserve the overhaul methods of Swindon Works in the fifties and sixties. We have plenty of active Castles, but no other fresh-from-Swindon locos.
Tim
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