Making the Modern World


On Display

Henry Maudslay's original screw-cutting lathe, c 1800.

Henry Maudslay's original screw-cutting lathe, c.1800. This is the machine that Maudslay used to pioneer the manufacture of highly accurate screw threads. Before Maudslay's invention, screw threads were crudely manufactured by hand. The lathe is buil

Early submarine cables and grapnel, 1858-1866.

Glazed case containing specimens of submarine cables etc:- viz: (a) two specimens of shore end and two specimens of main cable of each of Atlantic cables, 1858, 1865 and 1866; (b) two specimens of grapnel rope used in recovery of 1865 cable; (c) two

Arkwright's water frame, c 1775.

Improved spinning machine (water frame), Richard Arkwright, 1775. These spinning machines were driven by water power at Arkwright's Cromford mill, hence the name of Water Frame. This is an improvement on 1860-4, having an arrangement for guiding the

Plane table outfit, 1745-1755.

This plane table was made by Benjamin Cole. Plane tabling is a method of survey which allows observations to be plotted directly on a map by a surveyor in the field. Modern versions are still used today for filling in or updating detail on street pla

Circumferentor, 1750-1763.

This circumferentor was made by George Adams of London, one of the top instrument makers of the day. It was used between 1750-1763 on the survey of the Mason-Dixon line, in America. The instrument is inscribed in an engraved circle; 'Geo: Adams LONDO

Avro Vulcan, experimental model, c 1950s.

Silvered radar echo measurement model of the Vulcan aircraft built and used at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, UK. The model is chrome painted with a black stripe on the nose section. Built by A V Roe of Manchester between 1955 and 196

Wind tunnel model of the Avro 730 supersonic bomber, c 1955.

2 off wind tunnel models of the Avro 730 supersonic bomber, on plinth. The Avro 730 was designed to be a high-altitude supersonic (Mach 2) nuclear bomber and strategic reconnaissance aircraft. The project was cancelled as a result of the 1957 Defence

Original mirror for William Herschel's 40 foot telescope, 1785.

The astronomer, Sir William Herschel made this 48-inch concave metal mirror for his '40-Foot Telescope' at Slough, England. Cast in 1785, the mirror is made of speculum, a bronze alloy with arsenic for a more lustrous finish. Weighing only half a t

Arkwright's original drawing frame (lantern frame), c 1775.

Arkwright's drawing frame, commonly known as a lantern frame, c.1780. 'Drawing' was part of the preparatory processes applied to cotton prior to it being spun - Drawing both strengthens and evens the fibres and adds some twist. This machine was proba

Folding joiner's workbench, c 1969.

Folding joiner's bench, the fore runner of the 'workmate' bench.