Roll up, roll up, last weekend me and Michael headed to the Norwich forum to experience their Mechanical Circus exhibition. Celebrating coming to the end of their Circus 250 celebrations, this feature focus on the first ever mechanical toys and mechanical sculptures.
Entering the auditorium, joyful circus music filled my ears played through a roller organ, known as a fair organ. Classic carnival tunes played, setting the atmosphere to view and play with mechanical toys around in those times.
The first mechanical devise was a tool used to show children how cogs and wheels turn and another to demonstrate how a wave moves. I grew up in the age of smart whiteboards at school and never thought of how they taught the movement of waves without a video being projected on the board.
There was also an old style calculator which used turning cogs to calculate the total sum. I was surprised how large this was, nearly a meter in length! Imagine having to take that to school for maths lessons! Of course it wasn’t really used in schools but by scientists and those calculating large sums.
There were also old style cameras and toys involving walls and cone shaped objects. When you placed the cone at the bottom of the walls the cone moved upwards as if by magic! What actually happened is the centre of gravity moves downwards causing the cone to move upwards.
Mechanical devises weren’t the only items which filled the room, there were also art instalments of obscure paintings which at first glance are near impossible to make out. Just scribbles on a page! When a glass cylinder was placed on the paintings a clear image was seen. They had hundreds of these, they weren’t always clear where to place the glass or what the image was immediately but thats what made them so fun!
There is still time to go and see this amazing exhibition! If you find yourself in the East Anglia area, certainly pop into the Norwich Forum and check it out, it is running until the 27th of January.