Silver Sick Siphon

Today I was back to the medical apparatus. I updated an enormous quantity of hexagonal pewter jugs, the medical use of which, I can only imagine. There were no photographs so I don’t even know what they look like.

Last week, I had my three monthly review at the Science Museum, after working there for five months. One of the things I was asked was if there was anything else I’d like to volunteer for. The museum has a Pegasus computer, which looks like something out of an American 1950s scifi movie! It runs on valves and is very big. Anyway, the conservators are taking it apart, cleaning it and, ultimately getting it up and running, with the aim of preserving the technology and anything that’s on its databanks. (I’m not sure if it has databanks but it just looks like a machine that should.) This is something I’m very interested in.

Anyway, Nick suggested I email the guy who is running the project and let him know I’m interested. This I did and then I emailed Ollie, the guy in charge of all volunteers, to make sure I wasn’t breaking any rules by volunteering for too many things. Ollie is notorious for not getting back to people. So I didn’t hear back from him. But I met him on the stairs today on my way to lunch.

It seems the taking apart, cleaning and getting it running bit is too much surrounded with health and safety nonsense for me to be risked (I wonder how we managed to work on building sites without health and safety, Dad?) but Ollie said when it’s time to boot it up and start to play with it, I will be considered!

I was ecstatic. What a dream project. I know it sounds sad but I’m REALLY looking forward to it. He also mentioned that the museum was going to try and get Babbage’s Analytical Engine up and running as well and I might get a go at that. Genius. I feel like the little kid who asks for a train set for Christmas and gets…A TRAIN SET!

So, I popped up to the computer display at the museum briefly after work and took the photo below to share my joy and delight. if you’d like to be really bored, there’s a Wikipedia article here.

Pegasus computer, Science Museum, London

And something I forgot to mention from Sunday…while we were outside, waiting for Stevie & Lara to emerge so we could throw organic confetti at them (it’s an organic farm and so we can only throw organic confetti…go figure), we saw a stoat dash across the lawn! A real, honest-to-goodness stoat! Boy, was it fast. At first we thought it was a squirrel but it was clearly a stoat. A wonderful thing to see. Everyone else was otherwise occupied so only Mirinda and I saw it. Poor them, I say.

By the way, a silver sick siphon has nothing to do with vomit. It is a silver, hollow tube with a little hook on the side. It is a metal straw for sick people to suck up liquid in Victorian hospitals – the hook sits over the lip of the glass or cup. They also have a tiny little filter in them to stop big chunks of food from suffocating people. I had to try and find where one was made today. I love my job.

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3 Responses to Silver Sick Siphon

  1. Claire says:

    I was first employed in 1954 when I was fourteen and I can remember seeing one of the first computers. It was huge as I remember it as about 10×10. Even my computer would have been about 2 foot wide with a carriage which moved across the entire top when it divided, really loudly. Love to you all.Claire.

  2. Mum Cook says:

    Wow, that is really interesting Claire. I remember that Nestle’s in Hayes, England had one of them too, but only the top people were allowed to use it…I was just a ledger clerk.
    Love Josie

  3. Mum Cook says:

    Your job is getting great all the stuff you love. Dad said the same as you, what a load of #####.
    love mum

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