Created in 2008, has welcomed more than
half a million visitors since work began.

However, as the cataloguing artefacts is clearly of ever-decreasing importance in academic circles and museums are increasingly concentrating on social history, relegating artefacts to store where all too often they simply deteriorate, I decided in 2018 to concentrate on the needs of the individual collectors who — judging by detailed site-statistics — make by far the most visits.

One of the most important additions evolved from a story-line I created for the British Engineerium twenty years ago, when we were considering re-interpreting the main gallery. This contained an extraordinary mixture of original artefacts and scale models, but had hardly changed since its inception in the 1970s.

Originally entitled Driving Forces, the update was intended to tell the story of the generation of power from muscle to nano-technology. But though a lot of time was spent on the project, the Engineerium closed before anything finite could be achieved. However, I kept the draft of the booklet that would have accompanied the exhibition, gradually expanding it into a book that reflected my largely pre-1918 interests, until it became Wind & Water, Steam and Spark.

Few of the publishers to whom it was submitted bothered even to acknowledge receipt, and there the project remained until now. The draft—admittedly, incomplete and with illustrations still to be added—has been uploaded so that it can be subjected to the scrutiny needed to effect improvements. Comments to me, please:

The brief study of pre-1914 industry and the accompanying trade directory is still accessible, together with information about German cutlers, toolmakers and gunmakers.

Contents of the site:

industry and its wares

Marks and Materials: identification techniques
The Golden Age of Industry
Manufacturers and Distributors, 1900
German Razor, Knife and Tool Makers

The Gunmakers of Thuringen

the story of power

Wind, Water, Steam and Spark
The Éolienne Bollée
The Engine Indicator

the men behind the gun

Dictionary of Guns and Gunmakers
The Guns of Nepal


Additional information about manufacturers, British in particular, can always be sought from the excellent and ever-growing Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History even though the site now charges for downloading documents.