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 a London exhibition.

Rusty first saw this engine in the Science Museum in South Kensington, and was immediately so impressed, that there and then thought he must make one! Unfortunately, its situation in the museum, in a glass case, was not really conducive to photography and meant he couldn't make as detailed an examination as he would have liked.

“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 six months of continuous effort. 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 (pictured below with the Maudslay and other engines) for his encouragement and undoubted ability.”