Sunday, December 27, 2015

Rowland Emett's Afternoon Tea-Train to Wisteria Halt

A a couple of weeks ago Debra and I visited the Ontario Science Centre while we were in Toronto to see their exhibit of Rowland Emett machines. The OSC puts their collection on display every year at Christmastime, and while we were in town I wanted to make sure I saw it. I hadn't been to the OCS since the late '70s, so it was something of a homecoming.
They have a large collection and it was on display in the Great Hall. We arrived early on a Saturday morning soon after opening, so crowds were still thin. That airplane in the first photo I seem to remember from the '70s, but the other machines were new to me...
... especially the train.
The sign accompanying The Afternoon Tea-Train to Wisteria Halt had this to say,

Designed and constructed by Rowland Emett, this well-loved train is hauled by Nellie, the senior engine of the line, which embodies all that is most pleasing in locomotive practice.
Light milking in this section is here seen taking place for the benefit of the afternoon tea First Service, and it should be made absolutely clear that the semi-permanent cow bears no malice towards First-Class passengers, but absent-mindedly chews their ostrich feathers through sheer boredom.

Some of E. L. Moore's earliest work was an homage to Rowland Emett's trains, so I was glad to see one 'up-close-and-personal' even though it wasn't one he modelled. 

Debra's excellent investigative skills eventually connected me with the OSC's Director of Science Content and Design, and she noted that although Mr. Emett made copies of a number of his machines - much like E. L. Moore often made duplicates of a number of his models - but the Tea-Train is the only one ever made. I should note that it's in excellent condition and runs flawlessly.

The OSC's website notes that the Emett machines are on display until 3 January, so if you're in Toronto, I highly recommend you go see them.

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