Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cable car

Reposted shamelessly from my main blog.

It's 1963, I'm 14 years old.

My friend Paul and I decided to make a cable car system powered by a Mamod steam engine, which would run from his third floor bedroom window to the bottom of his garden. We built the car with Meccano so it was fairly substantial. The steam engine was set up in the garden and a Meccano pulley wheel was set up on the window ledge. The line was wrapped around both pulley wheels and the cable car was attached to the line. You need to understand at this stage that neither of us had any concept of the idea of gearing. Paul stationed himself in the bedroom window, and I was in the garden and the boiler had reached working pressure so I flipped the piston to start it. What happened in the next few seconds horrified the pair of us. The cable car rocketed up the line in about three seconds, Paul ducked just in time to save losing his head, and the cable car parted company with the line and flew towards the bedroom ceiling. It hit and smashed the overhead light and then bounced off the ceiling, leaving a hole in it then bounced off his door leaving deep scratches in it. Paul’s mom gave us both a clip round the head and I was banned from the house for a month.

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