Three level timber framed display case glazed on all four sides.
Originally built in 1920s for the Industrial & Technological Museum and used for displaying the working models collection until the 1980s. Individual models were driven by leather belts from through a system of pulleys and right-angle gear drives operating from two overhead line shafts running along the centre of the case beneath each shelf. The drive shafts were operated from a 240V A.C. electric motor at one end of the case, with individual models being activated by small spring-loaded buttons which when pressed would engage one of a number of dog-clutches, transferring power from the line shafts. All of the models used in the case are still in the collection, but are registered separately.
Professor Wilfred Kernot of the University of Melbourne designed the original operating mechansim and helped technical staff at the museum install and activate the first four models. Over later years, the layout and contents of the case gradually evolved, but the principle remained the same.
The models themselves have interesting origins. The oldest being a portable steam engine and a horizontal stationary engine, both made by Ransomes & Sims of Ipswich, England, in 1859, as fully steamable models, depicting the firm's full-size products. Another 14 models depicting governors, ratchets and other mechanisms were part of a group of 120 models that the Industrial and Technological Museum ordered from the scientific model maker G. Cussons, of Manchester in 1915.
During the 1930s, the case was supplemented with further models, including miniature marine engines built by James Struthers of Renfrew, Scotland, and intricate models of a Maudslay table engine and rotative beam engine built as a hobby by A.E. Smith, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Victorian Railways.
Large cedar-framed rectangular case glazed on all four sides and top. Measuring approximately 3085 mm long x 1095 mm wide x 2495 mm high overall (incl skirting arond base & architrave around top). Contains an electric motor with pulley drive, connected to two overhead line shafts are mounted along the centreline of case. Internal shelf dimensions of case are 2890 mm long x 930 mm wide.
Transfer from Science Museum of Victoria (SMV), Industrial & Technological Museum, by 01 Jan 1990
Sign on long side of case: WORKING MODELS / To operate models press either button / marked "O" at end of case to start motor; / then maintain pressure on the button of / the model you desire to work. / The motor will run for approximately / three minutes after the button is pressed.
Type of item
3205 mm (Length), 1180 mm (Width), 2500 mm (Height)
Overall dimensions includes architrave around top of case. Footprint at base has length of 3085 mm and width of 1095mm.