Created in 2008, welcomed nearly 156,000 visitors in 2017.

This was a forty per cent increase on the previous year, but the site is still unfunded and the task is now to not only improve its relevance in 2018 but also ensure that there are enough resources to continue.

One obvious problem is that cataloguing artefacts is rarely seen as important in industrial-heritage circles, where ‘social context’ too often takes priority (and is also, in my opinion, much less challenging). The work done at the University of Brighton in 2000–1 tried to address this problem, but the malign influence of systems which regard the ‘context of a knife’ as a primary descriptor persists: a knife is a knife, and classification, at least initially, should depend on this alone.

It is probable that will now abandon work on directories of manufacture in subjects other than cutlery and edged tools, razors and razor blades, engine indicators and associated items, and hand firearms. Work on the Éolienne Bollée will continue, at least until some way is found of transferring it to a French host; this is nothing to do with Brexit, simply that extensive research in French archives is now the best way of moving the project forward.

Details of manufacturers can always be sought from the excellent and ever-growing Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History, which has charitable status and funding that lacks.


Click headline to access icons
Engine indicators: history and classification
Éoliennes Bollée: history and gazetteer
German cutlery, knife, razor and tool makers
Guns and gunmakers

would like to thank friends (individual and corporate!) for providing information and assistance beyond the call of duty:

Internal Fire–Museum of Power
Tanygroes, Dyfed, Wales
Hubertus Solingen
Solingen Germany
The Canadian Museum of Making
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, New South Wales, Australia
Maritiem Museum, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
International Military Antiques, Inc., New Jersey, U.S.A.
Dr Bruce E. Babcock, Ohio, U.S.A.
Larry Parker, Florida, U.S.A.
Pieter Knobbe, the Netherlands

Jonathan Ellis Minns: an appreciation
click here for details.

Additional details can be obtained by e-mailing