A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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21 October 2017

Today, I Am Mostly In Oslo.

Because Bloorgs put his socks in the toaster again, the factory ground to a halt and we Magneteers were stood down for the weekend - beastly luck!

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I headed for the Norsk Teknisk Museum which involved a change of train at Oslo central and out to Kjelsås, in all, just over an hour from Drammen and an affordable NOK 120 - roughly £12.

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Naturally, there was quite a lot of space devoted to the machinery and history of paper production - one of Norway's major exports. Having printed both by hand and machine, quite a lot of wallpaper over the years, this part of the museum was a happy find and gave me some ideas for a new project that employs much the same principles at one stage of the proposed process - but like project 'X', it's a bit hush-hush just now.

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This picture is not distorted; the Egoisten is a very thin car and the story goes that the chap who caused it to be built was sick and tired of people cadging lifts, hence there's room only for him. It seems an unusually elaborate (and pointed) solution to what shouldn't have been allowed to become a problem in the first place.

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Likewise, this isn't distorted either. The Hans Bjering Military Motorsled was made especially for driving in snow - there's a pair of detachable ski's for the front axle visible on the floor. I'm not sure why it's so thin - the driver sat in the back while the passenger usefully blocked the view forwards; bit like the Piper L4.

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This Bugatti was very appealing from the front (I know a Hillman with headlamps just like those) but it had the ugliest extended back with an extra cockpit cut in it for a second passenger.

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A pretty Deperdussin - there's one still flying with the Shuttleworth Collection....

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... and a Farman Longhorn; like wide-mouthed frogs, you don't see many of those about. Other exhibits included a particularly gruesome lot of medical instruments and a quantity of unmentionable specimens floating in jars. An unfortunately ill-lit horology section (in fact the whole museum needed attending to in this respect) funnelled the visitor into the stars and cosmos rooms (a fascinating insight into the early understanding of the Northern Lights was included). Various aspects of energy production were on display - another of Norway's exports - and a potentially absorbing collection of mechanical musical machines ranging from a fascinating mechanical violin, to a collection of Dr Moog's synthesisers might have held my attention for longer had it not been so difficult to see.

A muddled idea of a Norwegian Campaign and Kirk Douglas in The Heroes of Telemark, completes my knowledge of Norway's history during the Second World War. The exhibit (where the sombre lighting was used to good effect) explaining the horrors of the building of Hitler's Atlantic Wall by forced labour and prisoners of war enslaved by the Todt Organisation in Norway, was a star turn in the Museum's calendar - it alone, well worth the modest admission fee.

Providing Bloorgs' socks remain entangled in the toaster, tomorrow, I'll be mostly in Oslo again; it's an impressive city.

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