An intriguing contraption, worthy of Heath Robinson himself, comes to the Museum courtesy of St. Helen’s School, Northwood, on Saturday December 10th.
Based loosely on the code breaking machines of Bletchley Park from the 2nd World War, the students of the Heath Robinson Inventors Club at St. Helen’s as their 2015/16 “grand project” developed this decoding machine operated by balls rolling down ramps. Through animating some Heath Robinson pictures with wheels, levers and ropes, the girls made a number of “time-delay” contraptions in boxes, where a marble would trigger a series of events ending up with the ejection of another marble to set off the next box.
The purchase of an old typewriter and a great variety of recycled objects drew the young inventors into a world of the past where things worked without electricity. They studied the Caesar Cipher process and modified a slide carousel and a turntable to make a sophisticated code-maker.
The students involved in developing this complex machine will be setting up the machine in the Activity Studio of the Museum on the morning of Saturday 10th December and demonstrating how it works from 11am to 2.30pm. Younger children will have a chance to encrypt and decrypt messages.
The Museum's Learning Officer, Dr Claire Linge, commented:
'This shows how Heath Robinson can inspire, challenge and excite young people. It's just one of many reasons for families to visit the museum, along with our hands-on activities and workshops.'
Normal museum admission charges apply.