Steam world en­thu­si­asts bid farewell to Tim Nagle

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Der­mot Ryan

Kin­sale and the world of steam preser­va­tion have lost a key fig­ure, with the pass­ing of pop­u­lar en­gi­neer Tim Nagle.

He was well known na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally for his ded­i­ca­tion to the con­ser­va­tion and preser­va­tion of all forms of 19th and 20th cen­tury tech­nol­ogy, in par­tic­u­lar, ma­chines pow­ered by steam.

Most of his life was im­mersed in sav­ing the na­tion’s steam her­itage, in­clud­ing spear­head­ing cam­paigns to sal­vage, from scrap and break­ers’ yards, the few re­main­ing steam rail lo­co­mo­tives, as well as agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial ma­chines.

His en­thu­si­asm for en­gi­neer­ing of yes­ter­year was born in child­hood, in­her­ited from his in­no­va­tive father who had no­ticed six-year-old Tim’s fears about steam­roller, and went about build­ing a work­ing model from war­time scraps to demon­strate to his young son the Vic­to­rian tech­nol­ogy.

Fear over­come, Tim’s ad­ven­tures with in­no­va­tion had be­gun, in­clud­ing teenage at­tempts to build a rocket, par­ing sul­phur from matches and warn­ing his Monkstown neigh­bours of the launch.

Sadly, the mis­sion failed but his zeal was not damp­ened, and sim­i­lar es­capades con­tin­ued through­out his life al­ways be­liev­ing ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble.

Since the 1960s, Tim, who has died aged 82, was a fre­quent vis­i­tor to events in the UK where steam en­gines were demon­strated in a work­ing en­vi­ron­ment. He en­cour­aged the em­bry­onic steam preser­va­tion move­ment in Ire­land to adopt a sim­i­lar ap­proach. Steam ral­lies and fairs now fea­ture dis­plays of work­ing en­gines, demon­strat­ing how they con­trib­uted to the for­ma­tion of the econ­omy through thresh­ing, saw­ing, stone crush­ing, even cof­fee grind­ing and mu­sic.

Tim was a founder of the coun­try’s largest steam rally held ev­ery June in In­nis­han­non which ex­hibits an in­ter­na­tional col­lec­tion of work­ing en­gines and has raised over a mil­lion euro for The Ir­ish Can­cer So­ci­ety since its in­cep­tion in 1998.

Un­til re­cently, he was an ac­tive mem­ber of the Half­way Vin­tage Club in Ballinhas­sig, en­joy­ing the ca­ma­raderie of fel­low en­thu­si­asts while gen­er­ously and ea­gerly be­queath­ing some of his ex­per­tise to the next gen­er­a­tion.

Tim’s per­sonal col­lec­tion in­cluded sim­ple en­gines, com­pound en­gines, triple-ex­pan­sion en­gines and the high­lights of a rich col­lec­tion were an 1878 McLaren Trac­tion and 1916 Mar­shall Por­ta­ble en­gines.

The reg­u­lar sight of a white­bearded Tim driv­ing his fine McLaren trac­tion en­gine was fa­mil­iar to many peo­ple.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.