Friday 22 July 2016

Models Making History

On my visit to Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin I admired a lot of the museum's models. While all of a very high quality and extreme craftsmanship the ones that caught my attention the most were those showing the use of technology in context and not merely a free standing model of a single machine.

Model of a sleeper impregnating works 1930. Built by a Polish modeller for the Railway Museum in Warsaw.
The model of the sleeper impregnation works in the image above was ordered by the Railway Museum in Warsaw. When Poland was occupied by Germany in 1939 the museum was closed and the model taken to Germany in 1940. The model was exhibited in the then Verkehrs- und Baumuseum and later in the war damaged by allied bombing. Restored it now not only illustrates sleeper impregnation but also how museum exhibits moves around as history change.

Model illustrating the building of the Hindenburg dam connecting main land Germany with the island of Sylt. Model built primarily from paper and cardboard.

Close up of the skip train. The wheels of the skips appear to be metal.

Works plate on the model showing it to be made by the Stegemann Brothers in Berlin.
The model is now as much a museum item as it is an illustration. Probably built around the time when the Hindenburg dam was opened (1927) it has survived the test of time, the Second World War, hard financial times and changes in museum priorities. It is also a sign of how good choices of materials in modelling combined with careful safekeeping will help a model survive. Today paper models from the Stegemann Brothers are handled the same way as original museum items are. Recently one of their models of an Egyptian pyramid was restored by a professional conservationist. I wonder if any of my models will survive as long as these two did?

An advert in the magazine 'Der Baumeister' April 1924 for Stegemann Brothers' paper model company. By sheer coincidence the Stegemann Brothers had their office at L├╝tzowstrasse - Nystrup Gravel had their's on L├╝tzowsvej.

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