A Miniature Triple-Expansion Marine Engine Model


Tuesday, 30 October 2007

A Really Slow Process

It’s been a while since the last treatment update, but you have to keep in mind that conservation treatments can sometimes take long; actions based on rushed decisions can prove destructive for the object. Patience is essential for the conservator.
Over the past 6 weeks, the cleaning bath has continued in an effort to dissolve the old lubrication, without disassembling the miniature.
At the same time mechanical cleaning continued using custom made wooden tools, in order not to scratch the delicate metal surfaces. We also worked with a variety of fine paintbrushes from number 0 to 3, in an effort to remove the soluble accretions, a treatment that it is demonstrated in the video.

We discovered some interesting details about the miniature engine. Inspecting the object at high magnification revealed some minor construction faults and imperfections, visible only under the microscope! For example, you can see a mark just next to the right pin of the label (video 00:04), which has probably been caused from “hammering” the pin.
Finally, we managed to restore the engine’s function in manual mode. That means that the pistons are moving while turning the fly-wheel. You can have a look yourself in the video (00:32)!
However, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to make it possible for the engine to be operated by air. We still cannot guarantee that it will work, as the main priority of the conservation team is to ensure the good condition and safety of the objects, even if we have to classify them as static.
Nevertheless, the treatment continues, so stay in touch for the next update!