Tag Archives: Victorian

Mysterious hoard baffles cathedral experts

The discovery of a forgotten time capsule has baffled history buffs at Durham Cathedral.

Workmen dismantling a Victorian bookcase to make way for a new door were surprised to find two newspapers from 1880 hidden under the base – and names written on the timbers in pencil.

The discovery has puzzled historians who believed the towering bookcases were installed when the stunning Monks’ Dormitory was opened in the 1850s.

Cathedral archaeologist Norman Emery now believes the Dormitory, a library, may have been extended at a later date.

But even that theory raises questions, as Mr Emery explained:

“Perhaps the library was extended at a later date and the new bookcases made as exact copies of the existing ones, but they appear to me to have all been made at the same time, which is baffling.”

Meanwhile, Mr Emery and colleagues are investigating the graffiti, bearing the names John Milbanke, believed to have been a Victorian builder and joiner from Church Street, Durham, and Robert Robson , a builder, mayor, alderman and justice of the peace whose eldest son served as the cathedral’s clerk of works.

The newspapers unearthed were the Newcastle Daily Chronicle of July 13, 1880, and the London Weekly Times of June 17, 1880.

Stories of the day included parliamentary debates, imperial affairs and a Sunderland manslaughter trial, all featured alongside adverts for assorted miracle cures and agricultural show results.

The Times carries a name and address written in ink across the centre page: Mr R Yelloby, Berwick on Tweed.

“It would be fascinating to know the link between this man and the man who ended up with the newspaper,” Mr Emery said.

The mysterious find follows the discovery of Roman pottery and a single pre-historic flint under the cathedral’s Great Kitchen in April.

The cathedral is undergoing major renovation as part of the £10m Open Treasure programme, which will see the creation of a world-class exhibition space capable of hosting priceless artefacts from the cathedral’s collections and across the world.

For more information, visit durhamcathedral.co.uk/open-treasure

Source –  Durham Times,  30 Oct 2014

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Victorian Retro Steampunk Computer

stempunk

Victorian Retro Steampunk Computer by Datamancer

Currently available on eBay (opening bid a cool $14,000 US). Seller’s description –

This is a one-of-a-kind, painstakingly handcrafted full PC suite by the renowned Retro-Victorian / Steampunk builder, Richard R. Nagy aka “Datamancer” of www.datamancer.com, easily the most intricate, time-consuming, and original design to come from his workshop to date. 

 

This computer is built as an homage to the brass computational machines made by Charles Babbage in the mid 1800’s. His “Computational Engine” and “Analytical Engine” were giant, mechanical calculators and can arguably be called the first “computers” ever, as they were programmable and contained the first examples of a lot of the programming functions used by computers today.

 

There are a lot of details in this piece of art, so read carefully.

 

PC CASE:

The most striking feature of the PC case is the cosmetic display of gears, cogs, cams, and levers in the front of the machine. The rear wall of the display is polished brass, which casts a reflection making it appear as though the entire PC case is full of nothing but brass machinery. There are custom beveled-glass windows in the side though, which you can use to see your hardware, should you want to show it off. The PC case is designed around the “ATX format” of PC hardware, which is the format all PC parts obey, so this machine can be upgraded for years and years with new computer parts. This was a slow build, so we intentionally left the case empty of PC hardware until now, so that upon purchase we can install the latest equipment inside rather than letting the hardware age, which is why there are no specs listed. The included machine will be “gaming level” at the very least. Please contact us if you have specific hardware requests.

 

MONITOR:

The 20″ LCD features a brass border with custom engraved acanthus-leaf details which match the acanthus-leaf designs on the keyboard. The LCD case has a hand-carved double swan’s neck pediment across the top, with a brass finial in the center. On the sides of the LCD case are custom-made, tombstone-shaped beveled-glass windows through which you can see a vintage film projector with custom-made spinning brass film reels, which is pointing into a sort of light projection box with metal accents. Inside this light box is a small LED light source with a custom-designed strobe light circuit which flickers and flashes, giving the impression that the projector is displaying images directly to the rear of the LCD screen. The projector can be controlled through a small switch on the top of the LCD. It is a very impressive display and always draws a gasp and a cheer when shown to people for the first time. The LCD case also has small sconces on either side, which are linked to a dimmer switch on the top of the case, lending a rich, golden glow to any room. The rear panel of the LCD is removable for servicing and cleaning, and comes off with a quick tug on the supplied brass handles. On the top of the LCD case is a cast brass vent cover. 

 

KEYBOARD: 

The keyboard is one of our “Marquis” model keyboards which is constructed of sturdy solid brass and features etched, acanthus leaf designs to match the engravings around the LCD screen. The keyboard has a black leather faceplate to match the black leather on the table, and can be made for any language layout, in either 104 or 105-key configurations, and with your choice of font and color. All of our keyboards use the highest-quality mechanical switches, meaning they will last for decades

 

MOUSE:

The mouse is made from an old morse code telegraph “clacker”. The mouse pad is a custom-built pad with a gold foil map under glass.

 

TABLE:

The table is scratch-built and covered in black leather vinyl with approximately a zillion brass rivets. The table legs are cast-iron legs from an old Singer sewing machine and are built on hinges so they can fold up inside the table for ease of shipping and transport through doorways and such. There is a surge protector built onto the rear of the table as well. On the front of the table is a cushioned, burgundy wrist pad, help up by black, wrought-iron supports. In case you need to see if it will fit in your home, the table measures approximately 6′ x 3.5′ deep and the entire PC suite stands about 5.5′ tall.

 

SPEAKERS:

The speakers are authentic Atwater-Kent radio speakers into which have been install a set of modern PC speakers, with vintage knobs for power and volume, and a jewel lens for the power LED. The sound is very directional, but definitely fills up a room nicely.

 

ACCESSORIES:

Included are the Crosley Radio “Eiffel Tower” phone and the picture frame, both of which feature a similar floral motif to the acanthus engravings and the floral metalwork on the sconces.

 

CHAIR:

Not included in this auction, but we do have a French Captain’s Chair that matches this computer available and we could discuss including it as an add-on, though we would need a bit of time to finish reupholstering it. The chair is a red mahogany stain and the cushions would be the same black leather vinyl that is seen on the table top.

 

Interested ? Auction has 8 days remaining from the date of this post.

 

More and much clearer photos at the link.

 

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Almanac – March 26

1814 – Joseph-Ignace Guillotin died.  French physician who proposed in  1789 the use of a device to carry out death penalties in France.

While he did not invent the guillotine, and in fact opposed the death penalty, his name became an eponym for it. The actual inventor of the prototype guillotine was Antoine Louis.

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1859 – A. E. Housman born.  English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad.

Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems’ wistful evocation of doomed youth in the English countryside, in spare language and distinctive imagery, appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early 20th century English composers (beginning with Arthur Somervell) both before and after the First World War.

Through its song-setting the poetry became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself.

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1923 – Sarah Bernhardt died.  French stage and early film actress, sometimes referred to as “the most famous actress the world has ever known“. She made her name on the stages of France in the 1870s, and was soon in demand in Europe and the Americas, and  developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress.

In 1905, while performing in  La Tosca in Teatro Lírico do Rio de Janeiro, she injured her right knee when jumping off the parapet in the final scene. The leg never healed properly, and by  1915  gangrene had set in and her entire right leg was amputated; she was required to use a wheelchair for several months.

She reportedly refused a $10,000 offer by a showman to display her amputated leg as a medical curiosity and  continued her career,  often without using a wooden prosthetic limb; she had tried to use one but didn’t like it.

 She died from uremia following kidney failure in 1923;  believed to have been 78 years old.

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1950 – Teddy Pendergrass born. American R&B/soul singer and songwriter.

Pendergrass first rose to fame as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 1970s before a successful solo career at the end of the decade. In 1982, he was severely injured in an auto accident in Philadelphia, resulting in his being paralyzed from the waist down.

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1959 – Raymond Chandler died. American novelist and screenwriter.

Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature, and is considered by many to be a founder, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers, of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction.

His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, along with Hammett’s Sam Spade, is considered by some to be synonymous with “private detective,” both having been played on screen by Humphrey Bogart, whom many considered to be the quintessential Marlowe.

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