Electrokinetica The Electro-mechanical Museum

Meet the team

We are a group of enthusiasts with a shared interest in electrical, electromechanical and electronic things of all kinds, and our combined expertise covers a wide range of disciplines. Although we are spread around the country we have a nominal base in London. We are already collaborating on conserving artefacts whilst the spadework for the permanent museum location progresses slowly in the background. It is an inescapable fact that many of the last examples of interesting things are being discarded every day, therefore the group members have taken the initiative and contributed their personal resources to ensure that these items are not lost forever. Many of us already have collections of our own, and you will see some of the items featured on this site attributed to their respective owners, which will either be donated or loaned to the trust once in operation.

Dave driving reach truck

Dave

Educational computer technology and rechargeable batteries are two of Dave’s specialist subjects, so amongst other things he has a detailed knowledge of the anatomy of turtles. He also admitted having designed laboratory equipment based on uniselectors, and by so doing lost all hope of escaping Strowger maintenance duties. Hailing from North London, Dave lives dangerously close to the EK workshops so gets dragged in at many inconvenient moments.

Edward assembling machines

Edward

Edward gets the phone call when something needs to be moved, lifted or got out of somewhere awkward. Owner-driver of an articulated lorry with 27 tonne-metre crane, it is no surprise that Edward’s interest in mechanical technology tends towards the larger, steam-powered variety. Also knows about precision mechanical stuff and cows, and has been heard to say ‘This electrical gear grows on you, doesn’t it?’

Kevin

Kevin

Writes software, builds hardware, eats 4G for breakfast. In other words, Kevin is an instrumentation engineer working in the communications industry, making sure that your mobile phone technology is suitably mobile and phoney. Also a radio ham, so even more likely to be found poking tall things skyward. Builds kit cars in his (spare?) time.

Lucien behind boiler

Lucien

Lucien is a London-based freelance electronic engineer, who is obliged to take the blame for anything and everything at Electrokinetica as it was his idea in the first place, aided and abetted by some of the others here. Lucien has been involved with a number of museum projects not all of which were electrical; his specialist subjects include mercury arc rectifiers, dynamos and cinema organs.

Richard repairing computer

Richard O

Richard’s interest in electronics began at a young age, when he became superglued to a BBC micro at primary school. As a former IT professional, Richard took on development of this website and its underlying systems. Whilst no longer working in IT, early home and business computer technology and equipment remain a lifelong interest. Update: Richard has recently been spotted building databases at work...

Richard investigating panel

Richard P

An electrical engineer specialising for much of his career in designing theatre electrical systems, Richard has escaped from London to Devon and therefore has an excuse for not turning out at weekend activities. Although very disciplined about not cluttering the house with electrical gear, he has mentioned the possibility of putting up a resistance dimmerboard to feed the kitchen lighting.

Steve dismantling generator

Steve

Also a theatre-lighting man and electrician, Steve’s interests encompass audio, electro-musical and Landrovers. Steve lives in Lincolnshire where he sometimes causes loud bangs in his capacity as pyrotechnician. As such he is certified explosion-resistant and capable of withstanding bursting MI cable seals at point blank range.


Mugshots coming soon:

There are many more who have recently joined in and we look forward to expanding this page; inclusion subject having made the tea at least twice and scoring over 85% on the cardboard box assembly test. E.g. Bill, Dan, Derek, Malcolm, Martyn...

The EK website generator - how it works

EKHQ - the nerve centre

Electrokinetica London office

You might wonder what sort of technology brings forth these web pages. Does it have valves in? A PDP-11? Did someone mention relays? Well here's the user interface: an assortment of PCs, in the EKHQ in London (a.k.a. Lucien’s study) and Richard’s office on the opposite side of the globe in Queensland Australia. The two installations are linked by transcontinental pneumatic tubes employing magnetohydrodynamic thrustors. Or perhaps the internet. We would gladly edit the pages on a bunch of uniselectors but they are a bit slow at image file compression. The sharp-eyed viewer will notice just one concession to antiquity that has crept into the pic of EKHQ; the vintage letter opener lurking behind the keyboard. This is dated 1904 and carries an advertisement for Davy’s Arc Lamps of London. The green carpet tiles also have a link with electronic technology, having originally been located in the Philips / Mullard offices in Surrey. And incidentally the little badge to the right of the Compaq monitor logo is the ID plate from one of the world’s first video recorders. And the computer stuff is plugged in to a bakelite 5A socket outlet fed via open channel porcelain fuses. But we could go on like this for hours...

EKAUS - the server room

EK data processing suite

Richard designed the Electrokinetica website to be extensively scalable and fast to edit, using php to generate the pages and MySQL for the database. The working copy of the site lives in a version-managed repository on a machine in Australia, from which files can be edited in both continents simultaneously without risk of unresolvable version conflicts. At least, until the version management system breaks, in which case we have to go back to the good old technology that we keep telling you about i.e. get out the backup tapes, snip the crinkly bits off the ends and watch the reader chomp its way through them. If Richard had only taken the pic just a little bit further to the right you would have seen the the card-tape-card machine ingesting the 312,500 cards required for a 5-minute video clip after one of those new-fangled magnetic tape drives had a go at turning our site into Christmas decorations.

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