Oscar, the chap I emailed was Mike Gilmore, but I have heard nothing back yet and I presume that you havn't either. He is the person who restored the hothouse/greenhouse at Winsford gardens and did some research on hothouse heating systems. G.
I suspect that Riccardo is correct as to what they are, and probably does deserve that medal - unless someone knows better!!
Last edited by GEOFFREY; 17-01-2013 at 09:42 AM. Reason: addad line
I don't think they are wick feeders; If you look at the ratchet mechanism, it is designed to pull whatever into the larger cylinder - A wick feeder would surely feed into the longer 'chimney'
If the dimple in the small shaft is a 'bearing', then in all likelihood the dimple would be at the bottom (to rest on something) . That would mean the ratchet mechanism is pulling something down into the to larger cylinder perhaps while being twisted (hence requiring a bearing)
appears to show a rod or linkage travelling along the long cylinder , If so, if this were pulled up it would increment the puller (rotating both ribbed rollers)  if this is the same device as one of the other pictures, then there is no rod - it is just the flattened seam on the long cylinder.
The rollers looks pretty well flattened across their entire width, which could mean the thing being pulled is a tape or ribbon. There does not seem to be any adjustment to change the roller spacing so the ribbon may have been compliant (squashy & springy)
The black colour and general lack of decoration suggests some very utilitarian use - possibly military or industrial
Are there any clear pictures of the inside of the large cylinder part? (showing the mechanism and perhaps what operates it)
Last edited by BillTodd; 17-01-2013 at 07:58 PM.
This is a pic with the large part removed.
That's the bit I'm calling the large part (large=wide) :)
Some further thoughts:(in random order)
I believe/guess the aluminium casting dates this to mid 20thC - probably post WWII.
The long cylinder is screwed to the central casting meaning it was not easy to remove. Since the ratchet clearly pulls towards to the larger part, it would have been difficult to thread the whatever between the rollers - suggesting that once set-up the unit was not disturbed too often.
So, I wonder if it is somekind of tensioning device ?
In what part of the UK was it found? (e.g. Lancashire might suggest spinning or weaving use, South coast rope making etc. )
Were there just the three of them?
Last edited by BillTodd; 17-01-2013 at 11:03 PM.
The ratchet system does as you say appear to feed down and not up, but there is also another what appears to be a sliding rod behind the side of the ratchet mech itself possibly the spring bar for the non return part of the ratchet. another note is that the push part of the ratchet doesnt look like it was designed to be pushed often, this suggests its not part of a large production machine.
It would appear whatever goes between the rollers is flat and as wide as the rollers which would not be like any rope ive ever seen, weaving Hmmm now thats another matter, most material is flat. I do wonder if there is anything missing from the assembly that would give the game away.. There must be someone who knows..
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