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Old 27-04-13, 01:09 PM   #1
novo
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I was thinking today (derisory comments on a postcard please:crazy:) It occured to me, how little, many of the paying public know about engines & things mechanical. This was brought home to me by a neighbour who had been to her first (& probably last) rally. On the subject of engines she said "A lot of old men sitting behind engines. What's all that about??") Add to this some of the questions i've been asked at rallies in the last year of two, & I wonder if some sort of more basic information is required. I'm thinking a "What is a stationary engine" sheet with what they are. Questions & answers. What they run on,e.g. perol,paraffin,diesel,steam. What they were (and are) used for, e.g. where an electric motor would be used now etc. I would like comments & suggestions as to things i might include. What do you think guys???
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Old 27-04-13, 02:12 PM   #2
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I seem to recall a few rallies where a brief description of what stationary engines were used for was in the programme. Surely this should be the norm for all rallies?
A large easy to read information board at both ends of the engine line/s with a description would be a good idea too.
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Old 27-04-13, 03:31 PM   #3
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Isn't that the whole idea of information boards?
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Old 27-04-13, 04:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Appletop View Post
Isn't that the whole idea of information boards?
Yes but does Joe public want to read over and over again what stationary engines were used for . . .
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Old 27-04-13, 05:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Appletop View Post
Isn't that the whole idea of information boards?
I'm not talking about make,model,history,restoration type sheets. I mean an explanation of what stationary engines are generally for those who have no idea. I've never seen it done before.Anything we can do to make for better understanding is got to be good. I'm not suggesting everyone has such a sheet. Just the odd one. I'm going to give it a try this year to see if it is of interest.
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Old 27-04-13, 05:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggusdannus View Post
Yes but does Joe public want to read over and over again what stationary engines were used for . . .
They weren't all used for the same thing were they.

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Old 27-04-13, 05:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
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They weren't all used for the same thing were they.

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No they weren't.
The point I was trying to get across was if the members of public that don't know what these engines were for or even what they run on (they don't run on steam for example) then they have a rough idea whats what.
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Old 27-04-13, 06:10 PM   #8
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I generally tell anyone at the fence who asks "what is it?" that they basically do what we would now use an electric motor for or there is a mains supply now.

If I have an engine running a pump I explain that there wasn't always mains water so they were used to provide water from a well etc.

IfI have a generator out I explain that they provided electricity where there was no mains electricity available.

If I have the workshop equipment out it shows how every machine (hacksaw drill etc) which would now have it's own motor can be run via belts from one engine.

Never had anyone walk away looking like they didn't understand!
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Old 27-04-13, 11:20 PM   #9
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I think Novo has raised a good point here, and I've rambled on a bit in the past on this forum about how I think we should be actively 'selling' our hobby to the general public. In my view, a nicely presented engine is only part of the 'exhibit' at a show or rally. I think a nice information board telling the paying public a little bit about the engine, its history, its restoration, and what it was originally used for is a small but essential part of our rally display.

There's no need to write pages of info... little and good is best. Just a few sentences and a couple of photos are all it really needs. So keep it simple, interesting and easy to read. Here's the info board for my Lister A (it still needs a couple of minor tweaks). To give an idea of scale it's about 3 feet (1m) long and the main info panel is printed on A3 size paper, have a look and see what you think:




Now try and look at it through the eyes of someone who doesn't know the first thing about engines... It mentions the War (a lot of people are interested in that), it has some old photos and adverts around it (people like a bit of nostalgia, otherwise they probably wouldn't be at a vintage rally or country show)... and it's easy and quite quick to read.

So, the person reading it might not be all that interested in old engines, but might be 'drawn in' by the photo, or by the old adverts, or they might just like reading about history. In any case, I think it looks a bit better than a single sheet of A4 paper with 'make, model, HP, date and owner's name' written on it in magic marker. But that's just my opinion, so what's yours?
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Old 28-04-13, 07:46 AM   #10
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When I used to run the engine line at the RAF Waddington Air Show, I had some signs that were attached to the fences that described in the most general terms what stationary engines are (were?). I can't remember the text now, but I talked about the lack of a National Grid, and the need to power machines, pumps, generators, etc.

The signs were read by more visitors than I ever expected, and having read them people would then come and show an interest in the engines themselves. I think the info gave them a little "context". That's probably the busiest engine line I have ever participated in, with a constant flow of visitors.

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