Waitaki Museum Blog

Featuring thoughts and ideas from the Waitaki Museum.

  • Bentwood Chair

    Bentwood chairs were first made in the early 1850s by the Austrian Michael Thonet. Manufacture of these chairs soon spread to other countries. They were incredibly popular over the next century as they were cheap and easy to import.

  • The Yardley Chair

    This chair was made by Walter John Yardley in Palmerston in 1866. Yardley was born in 1842 and so would have been 24 when he made the chair. Walter worked as a haulage carrier, driving a team of horses around the district, delivering goods and supplies.

  • Movable Type Exhibition 2015

    The Albion Press is an early cast-iron hand-printing press. It was first designed in 1820 by Richard Whittaker Cope and later manufactured by Hopkinson Cope and other licensees until the 1930s.

  • Movable Type Exhibition 2015

    The North Otago Museum has a small collection of printers and printing-related objects from the era of movable type. These range from the large and heavy cast iron Albion Press invented in 1820 right through to early typewriters like the Remington 12 invented a century later in 1922.

  • This is the final blog in a series of four focussed on the history of the North Otago Museum.

  • Pioneer Gallery custodian Neville F Turner with school children and moa bones. Waitaki District Archive 4444

    This is the third blog in a series of four focussed on the history of the North Otago Museum.

  • Thomas Forrester with microscopes in his workshop, Wharfe Street, Oamaru

    This is the second blog in a series of four focussed on the history of the North Otago Museum.

  • New Zealand Exhibition Building, Dunedin 1865

    This is the first blog in a series of four focussed on the history of the North Otago Museum.

  • Washing Display

    Over the last few months we have been sorting out our washing collection. The collection gives a good overview of the technological development that occurred throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

  • VALE Washing Machine

    This very basic electric washing machine was donated to the North Otago Museum in 1994. The body is a tin case into which has been inserted a brass interior with a stainless steel rim.  At the bottom of the interior is a large element, next to which is a hole for the water to drain.

  • New Zealand Memorial at Chunuk Bair

    One hundred years ago New Zealand soldiers were involved in the Battle for Chunuk Bair. This battle is considered New Zealand’s most important action in the Gallipoli Campaign.

  • Mangle

    Mangles were used to wring water from wet laundry. This one, manufactured by GH & G Nicoll in Dundee, is one of several in the North Otago Museum’s collection. Using a mangle after washing clothes considerably sped up the drying process.

  • Washboard

    Washing boards were a very early way of washing clothes. This washing board was sold by AJ Headland in his shop on Thames St around 1890. The frame is wood, while the grooves used to agitate and remove dirt are metal.

  • Pegdolls

    Wooden pegs were adorned with pom-pom skirts and silver tiaras at the North Otago Museum: MUSEUM OF ORDINARY THINGS: Washing Day exhibition during the winter Holiday Programme.

  • Swiftsure Washer

    The Swiftsure vacuum washer was patented by a subsidiary of the British Vacuum Company, founded by Hubert Cecil Booth in 1901. The vacuum washer was actually a posser (sometimes known as a dolly), a stick-like implement used to mix the washing when it was in a tub.

  • Wooden Rocker Washing Machine

    This wooden rocker style washing machine consists of a cradle which slots into the circular base, standing on four legs. The interior is ribbed, and when water and washing has been put in, rocking the cradle backwards and forwards agitates the clothes, removing any dirt.

  • David Maxwell and Sons Washing Machine

    This wooden hand operated washing machine dates from around the early 1900s. It was manufactured by the Canadian firm David Maxwell and Sons, who not only produced household items such as washing machines and churns, but also agricultural and harvesting machinery.

  • Speedway Washing Machine

    This Speedway washing machine would have been sold in New Zealand around 1930. It is a single tub washer, although there was also a twin-tub Speedway, which was a pre-cursor to the Hoovermatic. Our Speedway is a non-electric agitator style of washer made of galvanised tin with a copper exterior.

  • Speed Queen Washer

    Speed Queen washing machines are made by the American company Barlow and Seelig Manufacturing.

  • Ordinary objects can sometimes turn out to be extraordinary. This can be because of the stories that accompany the object, or perhaps because of the object’s rarity or value. This is certainly the case for many of the North Otago Museum’s everyday objects!