Colonel Rutherford

colonel-a04I delivered the first plinth to the Archive this morning. Dawn met me there and after struggling with the heavy box from the car we set it down in a currently unused room.

The plinth, which will ultimately be painted white, contains a power supply in the form of a large lead-acid battery, a coin slot mechanism and a timer circuit. Drop a suitable coin in the slot and the motor runs quietly for a preset period.

Colonel Rutherford was the first to try out this privileged placement!
Looking good we both agreed.colonel-a01The good Colonel sits on his stool under the baking desert sun sketching and occasionally looking up at his subject .

colonel-a03Whilst the mail plane, charmingly decorated in copies of original hand written letters and airmail sticker circles overhead.

colonel-a02We were both delighted with how the plinth, the mechanism and Dawn’s fantastically detailed puppetry are looking.

Next time: Catherine Marshall and the Suffragette donkey!



I’ve been trying out plinths for the automata. I made up a couple of drafts from corrugated card just to see if the size felt right. I’ve settled on 900mm for the height for the moment though I still have to check this with Dawn. Next step, see what it looks like made from more solid materials.

I’ve been to the friendly local wood merchant who cut me various pieces to size. There will be a pine frame inside but just to see what it looks like I’ve propped up these pieces and stuck them together with masking tape. I’ve stood the mechanism from the Catherine Marshall model on the top to get an ides of how it all goes together. The characters themselves will sit on the top of the box and the whole of the automata will be protected inside a glass cover. I’ve added skirting board round the base for the plinth which I think finishes it off nicely.plinth03We are planning to use tokens rather than just a push switch to start the automata, the thinking being that the tokens will encourage people to place a value on each ‘performance’ encouraging them to stand and watch rather than rushing off to press the next button. I’ve sourced some coin slot mechanisms and programmed them to recognise tokens. One of these will fit into the front of the plinth.


The instructions for the coin mechanism appear to have been translated from their original language using Google Translate but after a bit of frustration I have got the machine to recognise or reject coins as appropriate.

For your interest here’s a closer look at the front half of the Catherine Marshall mechanism.plinth02