My Last Horseless Carriage,…or is it?

High Bentham and Pioneer Projects, who I have worked with many times and are an excellent celebratory arts company, have been selected to host a most exciting artistic project “My last Car”.  The idea is that we will be hosting performances at the Town Hall, but in addition, all sorts of creative and ingenious activities and exhibits will be happening all around the town.

Alison Jones has suggested that Rough Magic Theatre be involved and that we could do something exciting with the “back end of a bus”.  It sounds bad, but actually, this is the extremely wonderful vintage style walking lantern bus created by Nikki Johnson and children from the local Primary School.

They will be using the front in conjunction with the famous painted bus shelter, (by Gill Barron another local artist), in some exciting and intriguing way that is yet to be revealed.

I was a little underwhelmed to be offered the backside of a lantern public transport device to begin with, but then I started thinking about the shape, and about the fact that “car” is a shortened form of the phrase “horseless carriage”.  What if, after the oil has run out, or is just to expensive to be practical, we reconverted our clapped out old vehicles to run on horsepower again?

This in conjunction with my interest in automata and a conversation with our local environmental group, “Bentham Environmentally Sustainable Town” (or BEST), about the possibility of their creating a bicycle powered smoothie maker or similar, with the use of a dynamo got me thinking about a bicycle powered Horse automaton.

I searched out some material on YouTube, which you’ll find on our favourites list, here.  Then I suddenly remembered about our extremely ancient wooden meccano set and realised I could use it to see if I could recreate any of the mechanisms.  So here are the results of my efforts.

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And here’s one I made earlier!

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2 thoughts on “My Last Horseless Carriage,…or is it?

    • Thanks Clare, it’s early days yet. I’ve not had a chance to look at the back of the bus as it is in storage somewhere and I may have to change the idea. It will also be a case of scavenging the right bike parts in good time too.

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