19 April 2008

Old technology museum

Malcolm Anderson's private museum is for anyone who loves technology - machinery, equipment, engines. Anderson (62) lives on a property overlooking the Byrne Valley in KwaZulu-Natal. He's been collecting old things for about 50 years. The museum is open to the public and is situated on Minerva private nature reserve. He has several business interests in Richmond. There are several thousand items on display, including a jaw harp, an iron lung and a Morse code machine. The museum houses a collection of old vehicles, petrol bowsers, woodworking equipment, dentistry equipment, water pumps, steam-driven machinery, household items like typewriters, irons, fans, lights, kitchen equipment, telephones and valve radios, agricultural machinery, including a rare Rollo tractor built in Scotland, a winnower and a potato sorter, both built in the 1800s. Anderson and a friend, Chris Tilbury, work with a team of artisans to restore engines before they are put on display. His collecting tris have taken him to Mozambique, Namibia, the Western Cape, the Karoo and the Eastern Cape. In Prince Alfred he found an old washing machine with a hand-operated mangle. In the Karoo he found an engine used to pump water from a borehole when there was no wind to drive the windmill. It was built in Australia in 1917. In a Richmond attic he found an automatic soda water machine built by Flugel and Company of London. The iron lung, built by the German company Lubeck, was found in Umkomaas. To safeguard the future of the collection, Anderson has created a trust. He and Tilbury are members of the Natal Vintage Tractor and Machinery Club. The museum has a pub housed in a converted railway cattle car that includes the original “hole in the floor” toilet. There is a self-catering guest house on the 3 500-hectare nature reserve.