This camera, a Sony Mavica FD-91 is a remarkable display object, as testified by more than a decade on display in our Cyberworlds gallery. Not only was it purchased and purposefully dismantled (or exploded) to display the mechanism and electronic engineering of the camera, but it stands as a crossover piece between things that are built from materials (plastics, metals, electronics) and things that are birthed from objects like it; things that are ‘born digital.’ It was collected and remains an important teaching tool for a range of age groups.
Inside the Collection
Wes Standfield's Supreme mousetrap-making machine has been very popular with visitors to the Powerhouse Discovery Centre since 2007. Definitely a ‘cracking contraption’, it is making its debut appearance at the Powerhouse Museum in conjunction with Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention.
After walking up the garden path, visitors to this exhibition will enter Wallace & Gromit's front room and discover three showcases filled with inventions. One traces the history of the telephone, from an early wall-mounted wooden box with hand-wound dynamo to the first mobile phone designed and made in Australia.
While doing research on the Bullard postcard collection held by the Museum I came across the following wonderful piece on the impact of the Picture Postcard as a cultural and technological innovation.
This gold cradle was the first to be used in Australia to discover payable quantities of gold. It was made by William Tom Jr following directions from Edward Hargraves and was based on similar cradles (also called rockers) used to wash for gold in California.
The Powerhouse Museum’s Style 20 Fotoplayer is a wonderful instrument on display in the Kings Cinema within the Museum. It was made to provide music and sound effects to accompany silent movies and is an upright player piano, with an effects box.
Our small (but beautiful) bicycle display has proved so popular that its run has been extended to 5 November 2012. Not surprisingly, the bicycle that attracts the most attention is the penny farthing.
This early pedal bicycle is a good example of a velocipede or boneshaker. It is on display in the Powerhouse Museum during August 2012 as part of a small exhibition titled 'Bicycle: simple idea, complex evolution' that I curated for the Ultimo Science Festival.
A transistor radio, designed as an ‘oriental’ flower basket by Toshiba in 1957 for the western market, recently came to the conservation lab for treatment. It is made of cream and red plastic with a chrome handle and it has a radio and speaker inside.
Recently I blogged about how sedan chairs (seen here on display in our Transport Exhibition) were used in London in the 1600 and 1700s. However sedan chairs were never really used in Australia so how did this peculiar item end up here?
Professor Henry Barraclough was on a mission. He was visiting Europe in 1914 to find interesting engines for Sydney University, and there was one that he was particularly keen to acquire: an early Otto and Langen gas engine, the first commercially successful internal combustion engine.
What’s the fuss you say? Well today is the birthday of an Australian icon, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, fondly known as the coathanger. Now eighty years old the Bridge has become a symbol of Sydney and of Australia, its arch shaped structure adding definition to the beautiful harbour and inspiring songs, artworks, photographs and poems like this one by Dorothy Auchterlonie’s (Green) 1940 poem Kaleidoscope: Twinkle Twinkle little stars On a million motor- cars Along the Harbour Bridge so high Like a coat-hanger in the sky When the Bridge was formally opened on Saturday, 19 March 1932 the ceremony went awry.