Single owner industrial models collection ushers in new auction era

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 27th May, 2015

A single owner collection of industrial models and scientific instruments – part of Leonard Joel’s May Classic Furniture and Objects auction – signals an emerging category within the auction world.

With the auction to be held from 11am Saturday May 30 at 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra, the single owner collection is a reflection of mankind’s industrial and social past.

Several intriguing working models are part of the collection – including a museum quality model of an English Beam engine from the 1940s.

Complete with a plate inscribed with the words R.A. BARKER/1940/SHEFFIELD and housed in a glass case, the model was made by Bert Barker, who shortly thereafter received a medal for his creation at the London Model Engineers Exhibition.

However, the model’s greatest claim to fame was the fact it was displayed in the ‘Dome of Discovery’ throughout the 1951 Festival of Britain event.

Another fascinating item is the scale model of a plunger pump from the Lord Nelson gold mine at St Arnaud in Victoria’s Wimmera region.

The largest mine in the town, it operated from 1884 to 1915 – although its root date back to 1862.

At its production peak, the mine produced 640,000 tonnes of gold, from which 330,000 ounces were extracted valued at the time at £1 million.

The mine eventually closed due to the expense of pumping water from the various shafts.

Another intriguing lot is the early 20th century live steam stationary engine and boiler model, while a leather bound single draw naval telescope on a tripod stand makes interesting viewing.

A brass Gatling gun model should also attract plenty of attention, along with an early 19th century brass and ivory pantograph in a mahogany case engraved by George Adams, instrument maker to George III.

Other items include a wooden miniature cannon muzzle, reputedly made from wood salvaged in the 1830s from the wreck of HMS Royal George.

Launched in 1756, HMS Royal George was a 100-gun first-rate ship of the line that sank in 1782 during a maintenance operation – resulting in the loss of 900 lives.

A scratch built 3½-inch gauge steam locomotive ‘Horatio’ is anther strong attraction – as is the 19th century industrial skeleton clock and marine chronometer made by A. Johannen Co., makers to the Admiralty and Royal navies of Spain and Portugal.

The chronometer was used in a four-masted schooner Anieura, sent to Australia under Captain de Carteret’s command, and gifted to the vendor’s grandfather.


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