Rusty Titford


The Maudslay Columnar Engine was built for the 1862 Exhibition at South Kensington in the then grounds of the Royal Horticultural Society and now home of the Science Museum. The model was shown by Rusty Titford at Alexandra Palace in 2017.

Rusty reports: “I first saw this engine in the Science Museum in South Kensington, and was immediately impressed by its sheer elegance and, to me, beauty, that there and then thought I must make one! Unfortunately its situation in the museum, in a glass case was not really conducive to photography and meant I couldn't make as detailed an examination as I would have liked, parts were tantalizingly un-viewable.
“Contact was made with the engine curator who promised me access to it when they were removing it to install an electric motor drive. In spite of repeated reminders and assurances the promise was not fulfilled and I had to make do with some fairly bad photographs and a lot of inspired guesswork.
“I was very fortunate to be able to interest Anthony Mount, that great authority on historic engines, in the project, he too wanted to build it and in due course, from the scant information available, produced a set of working drawings, he also made the patterns for the castings involved and arranged for their productions at his chosen foundry.
The building took 6 months of continuous effort. I've no idea how many hours were involved but I didn't manage to get a summer holiday. It was not without problems, but consultation with Anthony in most cases produced an immediate solution although I must admit some took a touch longer!
“Anyway I am well satisfied with the result it has been run on air and works well at about 10-15 psi. I am indebted to Anthony Mount for his encouragement and undoubted ability.”