in Chard, Somerset
This excellent museum was created by people with a deep interest in the town's history, and is run by enthusiastic volunteers. The wide range of artefacts on display is well-chosen, and the breadth and depth of the exhibits is sufficient to warrant return visits.
Displays of special interest include artefacts relating to aviation pioneer John Stringfellow, machinery manufacturers Dening and Co., and the local lace industry. There are also excellent displays of the workshop equipment of local trades, including blacksmiths, woodworkers, plumbers, cider makers, and even a 'surgical mechanic'.
Rarities include a Stringfellow aeronautical steam engine and boiler, a complete horse-driven apple-crushing mill (without the horse!), and stripped-down examples of the magnificent gilded shop fascia board which used to grace many a high class Victorian emporium.
The horse-powered cider mill, with its granite crushing rollers, is worthy of close scrutiny as an example of early heavy engineering applied to a rural industry. The gears on the horse mill side are driven by square shafts and secured by groups of square keys. Similar arrangements can be seen on steam engines built c.1800, although it was more common (and more rational) to use eight keys. The gears on the other side of the rollers are of different design, presumably later additions or replacements.
 Museum website