Pictures from the Kelham Island industrial museum, Sheffield – one of the few museums with a clear majority of male visitors!


A decommissioned Bessemer converter.  The production of steel had previously been a difficult and expensive process, limiting its use to small items such as cutlery.  The development of the Bessemer process in the 19th C allowed raw pig iron to be converted to steel much more cheaply.


A snuff mill, from the days when snuff was such a large business that industrial scale production was required!


The 150 brake horse power Crossley gas engine.

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The 12000 horsepower River Don Engine, claimed to be the largest operational stream engine in Europe.  Even run at low steam pressures, the working engine is an impressive sight, particularly as it able to reverse direction in seconds.  Used to roll heavy plate, it was nearly broken up for scrap when decommissioned in the late 1970’s.


A crankshaft for the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.  Curiously it was cast flat  (see mould underneath) and subsequently twisted into to its final form.


The main body of a Grand Slam bomb, which at 10 tonnes is probably the largest bomb to be used operationally.  Molten torpex explosive poured into the bomb casing would take a month to cool!  Designed by Barnes Wallis (more well-known for his “bouncing bomb”), the Grand Slam and its smaller variant, the Tall Boy, was designed to penetrate deep into the ground and destroy foundations, rendering rebuilding impractical.


This infeasibly large micrometer rather stretches the definition of a micrometer!


A set of classic boxwood rules.  Note the Chinese vs. London feet scales (left) and the “cork measure” (far right) with both English and Spanish scales!


A collection of saws, including the intriguingly named “Turkish monkey saw” (middle).  Presumably this is not a saw intended to for use on Turkish monkeys?


The letter writer seems to be  saying that after 51 years of faithful service, he hopes that the original manufacturers will see their way to giving them a new one.  This feels a little cheeky given how little they have obviously spent on new tools!


Sheffield was once known for its master craftsmen, little mesters,  working in individual small workshops.  This is a reconstruction of a workshop where intricate mechanisms were painstakingly constructed.


A fantastically ostentatious “year knife”, with a blade for each day  of the year, produced in Sheffield for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

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Traction engine and model engine in the store.


Early motorbikes.


Display Rolls-Royce Avon class jet engine.

Kelham Island Industrial Museum