Friday 1 August 2008

Back to the Future 2

Good news today - the first steam locomotive built in Britain since 1960 is ready to run. This is irresisibly exciting. Steam locos are beautiful things, gratifying to all the senses, and to the intellect - unlike today's technology, with steam you can actually see how it works, its mechanics are perfectly expressed, without disguise, in its form. And, of course, for reactionaries like me, it is always a pleasure to see the supposedly dead past spring back to life and confound the progressives.
On a similar theme, here are a couple of facts to ponder (I owe them to the great Oliver Rackham). The craft of wheelwrighting achieved a perfection in the Iron Age that was not equalled until the 19th century. And the art of joining planks edge to edge was perfected in Roman shipbuilding and has been in decline ever since. Think on...

1 comment:

  1. Nige, you sound distinctly Fred Dibnahish this morning, knocking any mill chimneys down this weekend? Agree about steam trains, analogue against electrics digital. Remember standing on Maidstone East station as the Silver Arrow thundered through, came over all Betjemanesque. Warsaw station was an odd place 10 yrs ago, full of steam locos and British train spotters (all very Oddieish)