This engine was in use from 1736 to 1886 and was bought for £46, which is the equivalent to the Borough setting aside over £10000 in today's money towards its purchase. It is one of the oldest surviving examples of its kind in the UK. Richard Newsham, a London pearl button maker, took out patents for improved fire engines in 1725 and 1735. These engines were the first to deliver a continous stream of water, for reasons that are obvious, they were called "bed posters". The South Molton engine was built under Newsham's 1735 patent and had fixed front wheeels so it was very difficult to manhandle through the streets. Whereas after 1770 the later engines were fitted with pivoting front wheels for easier handling. The engine on display was in use in the Borough until 1886. It was then replaced by the Merryweather horse-drawn engine, which is also part of the Museum's collection.
The Merryweather Fire Engine was built by Moses Merryweather at his premises in Long Acre Lane, London and replaced the long serving Newsham Fire Engine. This was a horse-drawn fire tender and was purchased by the Town in 1886 and was still in use until the early 1930's, before being replaced by "modern motorised" fire appliances
This has a central hand-cut wooden screw, set in a massive headblock. It is made of oak and elm, weighing over three quarters of a ton. Most farmers would have a cider press, to provide their neighbours with a cider, commonly known as "Scrumpy". The cider flagons regularly appeared during harvest time, to quench the thirst of the farm employees - long before the Health & Safety Act came about!
Machines like this would have been a common sight in the latter part of the nineteenth century. This type of bicycle was called the Ordinary, to distinguish it from attempts to produce a safety machine.The bicycle features:
A tubular steel frame Front wheel spoon brake, introduced in 1873 50 inch front wheel 16 inch wheel Mounting hitch on frame over the rear wheel Hard tyres
Production began in 1870, taking over from the "boneshaker" style machine. Some 500 firms, many based in Coventry, produced around 200,000 such bicycles until 1892. Production more or less ceased with the introduction of the pneumatic tyre, from 1890, which made the safety bicycle the more comfortable conveyance.
The Victorian Fireplace has numerous examples of the kitchen implements and cooking pots that were commonly used in most homes of that time. Amongst items to be seen are:
Wrought iron range Cast iron cooking pot Wrought iron fire bar stand Flat irons Victorian glass pickling jar Victorian bread board Bread oven