The stimulus for this exhibition was provided by the impending arrival of Freddie Nichols. He told me that he and Ivana were going to holiday on Egypt and I said why not come here first before I go to South Africa. I had about three weeks to prepare the clocks and the robots. Here was a chance to show the models at last, not an easy thing to do when there are no Meccanomen or clock enthusiasts locally.
I had been working on the Asea robot and it was in good working order already, but the smaller ArcAngle robot which was already a modelplan had been neglected and was lying on the hall table, disconnected from Motivator. The clocks were in my study, but none of them really worked properly.
One by one I got each clock to work. I started on the Arnfield number 2 and had to re-learn how to adjust it. This was pretty much the pattern with the others as well. The hardest one was the Riefler which took two days to adjust. I had to relearn how to do this and write a description of how to do this for Freddie.
One of the main problems was how to provide power for all the clocks and robots at the same time. I partly solved this by buying a very nice power supply from Dan Pines. I changed the batteries in those that ran on battery power or used batteries for the relay – like the Riefler. In the end I remembered that the Rekers digital system has a very nice power supply and I used that for the two robots.
On display: Arnfield no 2, The Harrison No 3. Grignion, The Vienna Regulator – not yet a modelplan (must modify the escapement), the Sinclair Harding, the Riefler and the Shortt Hope Jones Synchronometer.
The two robots were the Asea IRb6 smaller rebuild from the old modelplan, and I rewired its control completely from Motivator to manual Motivator using the Y axes only and three double pole switches. ArcAngle - I changed the control of this to 3 double throw on off switches, and this worked very well.
Jon Freedman made seven wooden bases for me, and the models looked very nice indeed. They were displayed on the low shelf around the lounge, on the dining room server, and the Riefler stood on a low table next to it. The two robots and their power supply were on the dining room table.
Eve did not want the general public in the apartment, and so I settled for the members of my travel group, and sent out an invitation about two weeks beforehand – also to some of my overseas friends. The exhibition was open from 10 until 4. I must say there was a very good response and estimate about 120 visitors, including quite a few children.
It was an exciting and tiring day, as I had to explain the exhibits repeatedly. I am very pleased that my work was shown in this way, as I live at a distance from the main Meccano activities and rarely have a live audience for my work. I also decided that the time had come to take to pieces some of the clocks - a very hard decision to make. Eve and I had bought cheese and wine, and Rosalyn and Eve prepared a lovely spread laid out in the kitchen for people to help themselves. A very satisfying day indeed.