A fascinating collection of unusual mechanical gadgets and domestic bygones goes on display at the Antiques for Everyone summer fair at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham from July 20 to 23.
Collector and author Maurice Collins has been acquiring mechanical rarities and curiosities from bygone eras for more than 40 years. In this special exhibition titled ‘From Victoria to George VI: Gadgets, Gizmo’s and Thingamajigs’ Maurice will be showing more than 150 pieces from his personal collection. The display provides an additional attraction to the many thousands of exhibits going on sale at this popular event that attracts collectors from around the world.
The collection will recall the period from the first Great Industrial Exhibition of 1851 to the post-WWII Festival of Britain, a time of rapid technological advancement throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere when countless products, from the ingenious to the idiotic, appeared on the market.
Fascinating time-and money-saving devices, kitchen utensils, gadgets for ladies and gentlemen, trains, bikes, autos, and many more pieces recall these bygone products. A moustache spoon served a need amid polite Victorian society while gizmos like the nose shaper and the asthmacuring necklace had dubious origins.
The display offers a chance to marvel at the multitude of devices humankind has conceived, and some could be considered forerunners of modern-day conveniences like smartphones and computers.
Maurice Collins was born in London’s East End in the mid-1930s, he served in the British Royal Air Force and later started his own printing company specialising in boxed games and cartons.
Today he maintains a collection of over 1500 pieces which are available to hire to museums and galleries. Copies of his latest book will be available at the fair with the opportunity to donate to learning disabilities charities.
Among the many pieces going on display will be an early wood chopper, a head measurer, foot warmer, a Ladies Detective Bag, a mechanical vegetable chopper, a map magnifier, a memorandum clock, a moustache protector, an oyster opener, an early vacuum cleaner, a water filter and a pea-podder.
Antiques for Everyone is a highlight of the art and antiques calendar. Thousands of collectors head to the NEC to buy from more than 200 dealers. It’s a chance to discover everything from ancient Chinese antiquities to an enormous selection of the finest period antiques, works of art and contemporary
designer classics. “It’s the vast choice that makes Antiques for Everyone such a popular fair,” explains Mary Claire Boyd, Fair Director from Clarion Events. “With so much stock on display at the fair for the first time, it’s a very compelling event. It’s why collectors and trade buyers are queuing so enthusiastically on opening day!”
More gadgets and gizmos
Antique food processor
Antique feet warmer
Antique pea podder
Antique peach peeler