Magic of old machinery put on display
Murray Lane’s favourite place in the world is his workshop.
The machinery has been modified to his individual taste, everything he needs to tinker away is at arm’s reach and his accolades for model engineering hang from the walls.
The 74-year-old has been making models for more than 65 years.
‘‘The model I first started with is now 98 years old, that still works and and I still use it. My dad bought it for me,’’ he says.
He belongs to the Auckland Society of Model Engineers and is putting some of his work on display as part of the group’s exhibition at Howick Historical Village on October 20.
He says there will be clocks, stationary engines, traction engines, locomotives, workshop equipment and internal combustion engines on display.
Mr Lane’s interest
in model engineering really started to gather speed in 1965 when he was able to set up his own workshop.
‘‘I like doing mechanical things, so I had to have my own workshop. I like doing anything which is old and mechanical,’’ he says.
‘‘I’ve got several complicated models. I suppose my Heisler 4 cylinder geared locomotive which I worked on for 19 years would be one of my more intricate ones.’’
The retired man worked at Motat for 16 years helping restore a Vickers Vildebeest and volunteers at the Howick Historical Village as a blacksmith.
‘‘Since I retired nine years ago I have hardly got any modelling done, I’ve been virtually fulltime between Motat and the village,’’ he says.
‘‘I’m hoping that is going to come to an end. I want to get this engine finished, not to mention everyone else wants me to get it finished before I cark it.’’
Mr Lane says all his fellow engineers in the club are grey-haired.
‘‘We are just a bunch of guys who get together and bring along works-inprogress and talk about them.
all keen model engineers but we don’t all do the same thing so it is very interesting.’’
Model engineering has fallen far from what it was in its heyday, he says.
‘‘I ran an exhibition in 1987 that was the biggest we ever had in New Zealand that was held at the Auckland University and it ran for a week.
‘‘Membership was at its highest in about 1980 but it’s slowly going down.’’
But he says he couldn’t think of a better place to be than down in his workshop.
‘‘Keen model engineers, once they start, they just keep going forever. It’s part of your life. I’ll be down in here till the day I die’’.
Engineer nut: Seventy-four-year-old Murray Lane tinkers away in his workshop on his 1913 Gnome Monosoupape engine which will be on display at Howick Historical Village.