We often talk and think about the Victorian era, and for many it stands alone as a brief period in world history when so much of what we know, use and take for granted in the 21st Century was invented or was the seed from which a much bigger idea blossomed in later years. Much of the inventiveness of the Victorians was translated pretty much by hand into reality, and had that almost naïve appearance that many find so enchanting.

The first half of the 20th Century is, for me, totally captivating in terms of mechanical objects, machines, devices – call them what you will. In those years, things were made with a unique blend of the benefits of modern machinery and technology coupled with great skill of hand. This made for a finished product pleasing to the eye and most eminently fit for purpose. These attributes can clearly be seen in the design and execution of barometers and associated devices, but elsewhere as well: Purdy, Boss, Churchill and Rigby sporting guns, Bentley and Rolls Royce cars, and many other makers forged their enduring reputations in those years.

Here, in our 20th Century Technology Archive, I will include items to which I attach some great significance: for their historical, practical or aesthetic values, and probably a combination of all three.

Mark Jarrold, October 2020

For more information, follow this link to the section on our site: 20th Century Technology