Can anybody crack the signature of this portrait?
A great sense of satisfaction is felt in the team this week already, as we’ve now hit over 100,000 pages on the website. Our editorial team and dedicated volunteers have been working hard to make this happen and it should be noted as a great milestone for the project. We thank people who continue to help and support our site sending in valued content for these pages.
We receive an abundance of different inquiries and e-mails of interest from right across the world here at Grace’s Guide. From queries over motorcycles, chainmaille and antique glass jars to beautifully printed adverts and antique manuals, the variety of subjects we hear about or receive in the post certainly justify people’s fascination over little pieces of industrial history.
An advert for the “Magnet” Electric Machine made by the GEC, was perhaps the most peculiar addition of this week claiming to not only be a device to make ice-cream, but “wash, wring, iron clothes, mince meat and fill sausages, clean and sharpen knives” as well!
We also had a fascinating photograph of a silver pair of scissor serving tongs, quite unique in their design, made by the renowned Cooper Brothers and Sons of Sheffield.
With certain British companies from the 19th and early 20th century, it’s remarkable to see traces of them so widely found across the world. One particularly good example of this would be the J. Stone and Company from London. Established in 1842, their brand name has been spotted on railway undercarriages in Uruguay and railings in Barbados. A photograph of a drain cover in Brazil, sent in recently, fits in nicely with the other examples we’ve collected on their page.
I read today of the death of Alex Shear (1940-2014) in the US. Alex described himself as the ‘Broker of Nostalgia’ with a vast collection of memorabilia put together over many years. Starting with a few everyday pieces bought at flea markets and car boot sales he ended up with eleven warehouses across three American states full of these items. He collected everything from kitchenware, matchboxes (10,000 of these), toys and almost any consumer goods. Parts of his collections were loaned to museums and his plan was to open his warehouses to the public. If his plans are carried on by his sons then that is one museum I shall want to see.
As we’ve come to the end of The Engineer after over 2 years of thoroughly photographing, editing and uploading thousands of pages covering 150 years, indexing them has become a main priority for us. This involves routing through each page and noting its main subjects, taking care to link to any page within the website as we go. You’ll notice our referencing at the bottom of most featured pages under the ‘See Also’ heading where we’ve linked information back to its referenced page.
When taking time to go through the journals, you come to realise, not only are they like gold to historians researching the past century’s engineering and industrial past, but they are also works of art when complemented by such beautiful engravings, all of course successfully archived on the site.
Presently we’ve been working on the early 1860’s covering topics from boiler explosions to the launching of great naval ships. But during the year of 1862 the London Exhibition was the event that took the limelight of the earlier part of the decade, and is covered extensively in the weekly journals.
Held from May 1st to November 1st beside the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society, over 28, 000 exhibitors from 36 countries were involved, securing its succession in becoming one of the biggest exhibitions that had ever been organised.
It was the successor to the Great Exhibition of 1851 in the time when Britain was the leader of the industrial revolution, and with sheer magnificence of its contributors, it arguably was just as spectacular.