Backed with small tin reflectors…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s ancient Egyptian deity is the goddess Bat, with her human head, cow’s ears and horns, and body in the shape of necklace counterpoise (I have no idea what that means). Her associations are the celestial and fertility. (Bat)

I do like to construct things in my little workshop. It seems ages since I was in there messing with lengths of wood, tinkering with bits of metal, nuts and bolts, glue… Oh, I know, I’ll have a look for a possible project in that old junk shop book, often featured in these pages, The 1954 Gadgets Annual, which contains all the best items from that year’s Gadgets Magazine.

DSCN3900What a very different world it must have been back then; where ordinary women and men had actual practical skills, which they used to mend and repair things when they became worn and broken, rather than throwing them out and buying new ones as we do now. Need a new bookshelf, a pair of curtains, a small table to stand the wireless set on? No, they didn’t drive down to IKEA for a nice day out shopping, they actually made the things from scratch, themselves…
There are two or three items per page in the book – here are a few picked at random: An Amusing Party Stunt – Remove a Man’s Waistcoat With His Coat On!; Blow Football – With a Difference!; Make Decorative Containers from Tin Cans!; Make this Picture Frame from a Cotton Reel; A Very Useful Gadget – A Simple Cream Separator… etc.
This item is on page 51.

‘Yes dear?’
‘You are frowning, and looking puzzled.’
‘Am I dear?’
‘Yes, and you are nibbling the end of your pencil.’
‘Oh yes, so I am… Madge.’
‘Would you generally plump for series, or parallel wiring?’
‘Albert. What are you doing? Is that that silly magazine you’ve got there?’
‘It’s not silly Madge, I was just thinking that young Timmy next door’s birthday is coming up soon and…’
‘What do you have in mind Albert?’
‘Here, look at this picture, it’s a really novel, and amusing, bedside lamp suitable for a lad of his age, see how it…’
‘Good grief!…’
‘Would you like to wake up in the night with that, that thing, looking at you?’
‘Well, I…’
‘And the eyes light up! Good god in heaven!…’
‘Madge! Your language!…’
‘Sorry Albert… But Timmy seems such a sensitive child, and… Oh…’
‘Oh, what?’
‘Well I can see a flaw in the design already.’
‘Oh, where?’
‘It’s that push-pull switch…’
‘What about it?’
‘Well, if you pushed it, the whole thing would fall over backwards.’
‘Oh yes… I suppose a few lead weights in the base might…’
‘No, Albert. Why don’t you make him a nice little boat? They’ve got a pond in their garden now you know.’
‘Oh Madge, what an excellent suggestion! And no fiddly wires involved too… Thank you…’
‘You’re welcome…. Shall I make us a nice pot of tea?…’



About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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15 Responses to Backed with small tin reflectors…

  1. Dana Doran says:

    hum….I was going to make a comment in agreement about how, as I recall, our ancestors were all a bit of the “Renaissance man” – – however, being unsure of my spelling, I looked it up to find that the term has been replaced with the word “polymath” which requires “expertise” across areas of knowledge, which prompted me to think we’ve been conditioned to believe we can only do things when we have expertise in the area. I guess I should quit now!

  2. I realize I have a lot of skills as you said- I’m one of those persons from prehistory who still thinks first of ” how can I make it” or fix it. I like feeling self reliant even if there is no demand for sewing your own clothes anymore, etc.

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Repairing and fixing things is, I think, really good for the brain – you start to see and understand the world around you more clearly – which can’t be a bad thing.

      • Yes. That’s it exactly. Experience gives you insight as nothing else does. The more things you can do, the more I think you can understand in depth. Not that you have to do everything to appreciate it, but – I do think experience is necessary to feel it and understand it. Sympathy vs. empathy? Sounds a bit airy, how I’ve expanded building a toy boat into a life philosophy, but…there it is.

      • Dave Whatt says:

        Philosophy covers everything, including toy boats… I think that’s right, but what do I know?
        Ah, but learning to do stuff is certainly better than not learning to do it – If there was a point to us all being here on this silly little planet that would be it – the best thing we can do while we are here is learn and think…

      • I agree, and you’ve said it well. Beginner’s mind, all our lives?!

  3. ktz2 says:

    The project brings to mind the time I was a teenager and already afflicted with the ‘vintage virus’. I found an gorgeous abandoned art deco floor lamp, fringed silk shade & all, but the wiring was crumbly from age. So just studying what wire went where, I re-wired the lamp myself without help, really simple actually.

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