Interesting Artefacts

What on earth is that!? And what was it used for?

The Osmond Little Marvel

Made of tin, it stands about 40 cm (16”) high and 40 cm (16”) long. There are 6 cup like shapes underneath which are about 13cm (5”) in diameter. The bar across the top is the handle. No motor, no cables. A manual way to agitate the clothes washing in a tub of water.

Bean Slicer

A tool that has gone out of favor today. It sits on a bench, has a handle to wind the round plate which has blades. The bean is inserted at the back as the handle is rotated.

Wheel Gauge

‘This wooden gauge was used when a box was fitted to the hub of a Gig or Buggy wheel. The box was held by wooden wedges to make sure the wheel would run true’. (Information from the old label that was attached to the gauge). The short arm would fit into the hub, then the long arm could be rotated to ensure it didn’t bump into the box. Clear as mud?

Record Player Needles

This is probably the smallest item in the Murtoa Museum collection. A small metal box (4 x 3 cm) holds lots of pins which are 1cm (1/2”) long, with a point at one end. These tiny pins are Decca Gramophone Needles. Once only use, unlike the Stylus needles in the more modern version of a record player. Circa 1930’s.

1 Osmo~12 Whee~1
3 Boxp~14 Bbar~1

Domestic O H & S Nightmare!! The oldest irons recorded were containers filled with a burning substance, first used in China in the 1st Century. In the pursuit of smoothing out clothing, the humble iron has improved somewhat with many different methods of heating over the centuries.

The Charcoal Box Iron, circa 1867

Manufactured by T & C Clark & Co of Wolverhampton, England. A beast of an iron, weighing in at 3 kilograms! To keep the iron hot, coals were placed into the base compartment. Periodically the coals needed to be aerated by attaching bellows. The funnel was to keep the smoky smells away from the clothing and a wooden handle and a decorative shield protected one’s hand from the heat.

The Handi Pumpless Iron, circa 1920 to 1950

Manufactured by Handi Works P/L, Brisbane. In the early 20th century, irons were heated by a variety of combustible gases and oils. This new and improved model was fuelled by petrol!

How to light the iron: Once the tank was filled with petrol, pour 1 ½ tablespoons of methylated spirits into the base. Light the spirits and allow it to burn nearly out. Then open needle valve three full turns. If the flame is yellow it shows gas is not properly generated. Open valve a little further and allow gas to burn until yellow flame disappears. Then adjust flame to required heat for using. Easy!

‘The Barnacle’

‘The Barnacle’ is a beast of a tool. It resides on the top floor of the old Water Tower, and there it will stay. It is very heavy and of sturdy construction, made of cast metal at about 1.4 meters (4 feet 7 inches) high. It was once painted green with scroll work on the upper parts. It is operated by a foot pedal, no electrics here. Popular for bottling home brew!

5 Plou~16 Wash~1

Antique Hanging Shop Scales

The dish/plate base is 32cm (12 ½”) across, made of metal, dips slightly in the middle of the plate and is coated with white enamel on the top and the underneath. The metal handle is 38cm (15”) high with a hook that pivots so the dish can rotate. Its weighs about a kilogram. The antique Hanging Shop Scales were made by John Charlton & Sons and could weigh up to 30 pounds.

Skeleton Board Plough Model

The model of a Skeleton Board Plough pictured was actually constructed in 1922 thus making it 100 years old – it is fully functional and has been on display for many years on the 2nd floor of the old Water Tower. The Skeleton Board Plough was used locally for sticky soils from the 1920’s till the 1980’s. The plough model was constructed by father WT Dalton and his son as an Apprenticeship project and is on permanent loan to the Society.

Antique Wooden Washing Machine

The Museum has the top mechanism of a very old style of wooden washing machine (possible circa pre 1800’s). The lever is pushed back and forwards to engage the agitation inside the tub underneath. Wooden rollers would have been attached on the top to wring out the clothing.

Fire Retardant

This was hung on the back of a wooden door. When the heat of a fire became sufficient, the glass tubes exploded and quenched the fire. Chemicals used in the tube, unknown.

Scoop Bucket

A long handle was inserted into the tapered tube section. The bucket, set on an angle, was then used to scoop out water from deep trenches.