Saturday, 13 September 2014

Marvellous Machines

Rowland Emett 1906 - 1990 was a draughtsman, artist, cartoonist and most famously a creator of "things" as he called his fanciful machines. 

 During the 40's; 50's and 60's his work appeared regularly in Punch magazine. He was to become famous in the United States after a feature in Life magazine and many examples of his work are to be found in museums and institutes in that country.  Many of his designs were for trains, often drawn by locomotives with odd names and exaggerated features. His Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Railway was re-created for the Festival of Britain of 1951. It continued to operate until 1975. 

Many of Emett's designs were actually built and some of these machines work today. One famous creation is the clock in Nottingham's Victoria Centre.

William Heath Robinson 1872 - 1944 was also a cartoonist although his early work was that of a book illustrator.

 The term "heath robinson" came to be used during the first world war to describe a makeshift device or repair. Like Emmet, Heath Robinson designed fanciful machines, often to conduct absurd operations such as rejuvinating stale scones or removing warts from the top of ones head. His work appeared in a varieety of magazines as well as being commissioned to illustrate advertising campaigns.


  1. There was an Emett in the Merrion Centre, Leeds when I was little. I loved it.
    Apparently there is a collection of them at Stoney Wish in Sussex which I would like to see.

  2. These "inventions" have always fascinated me Lol. The bizarre and the eccentric do bring some colour to our lives and are quintessencially English.