Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sepia Saturday 189: 10 August 2013



Our theme picture for Sepia Saturday 189 comes from the Flickr Commons Collection of the National Library of Ireland and is entitled "What An Amazing Contraption". It provides us with an opportunity to search out photographs featuring all manner of strange or unidentified contraptions. And if you are fresh out of contraptions there is always cars or people sat in ridiculous positions.

Contraption, n. (sl.). Queer machine, makeshift contrivance. (perh.f. contrive, cf. conceive, -ception).


I have been fascinated with contraptions from a very early age.  This photo is taken at Hurstville I think c.1960.  I'm sitting on the bed with my father looking at one of my parent's cameras - maybe it's the Voigtlander.  

Both my parents enjoyed photography - my father often set up an amateur dark room in the laundry or the garage and I loved watching the photos magically appear in the trays of developing fluid.  My mother was a fiendish photographer and constantly making people sit "just so" whilst she arranged compositions.  Here she is with what I imagine is a Box Brownie in her younger days.


Of course, the first photo I thought of when this theme was proposed for Sepia Saturday was one of my maternal great-grandfather Walter William Forfar aka Dick Forfar in this newspaper article.


Thanks to my cousin Kath I think for this newspaper article.  I can't find it on Trove so she must have gone into the NSW State Library and photocopied it for me.

I have blogged about WW Forfar before here.  

I am still digging up new information about the Forfars but will post about that separately.

Here are some more photos of Dick Forfar in another contraption - his wheelchair.



These are photos of photos I'm afraid so are not very clear.  I think Dick is with two of his grand-daughters in the first photo - Joy and Shirley Wingfield - at least I think it is Joy - it's definitely Shirley at the back.  In the second photo I think it is Dick with Shirley and Joy's husband Ray Jeffery.  I think the photos were taken in Newcastle at his daughter Belle's place.  Dick died in 1949 so I think this is taken during the war years - say the early 40s.

Here is a photo of Dick's brother George next to another contraption.


The back of the photo reads "Forty winks after lunch.  Brother George having a nap at the side of a country road in England."

I don't know whose writing this is....maybe Dick Forfar's.  Dick was one of three boys - George being the eldest, followed by Ernest who went to the Rockies in Canada and then Walter William or Dick.  Anyone want to hazard a guess at the make of the car?


I love this photo.  Here's an alternative use of a running board - a napping board!  Please note the gramophone player on the left and the billy for the tea on the right.


It was Shirley napping on the running board!  And they're picnicking at Womal Reserve.  But I can't find a Womal or a Womai Reserve anywhere - perhaps the name has changed.

Here are the two girls - much younger - on another picture with their parents and their aunt - my maternal grandmother.



We love our cars don't we?  

Here's a really big contraption that I think may have taken large groups of people on tours.  I'm not sure where this one was going but I'm guessing the Blue Mountains.  My mother is the little girl in the front so I'm guessing this was taken c1940.


What would you call this contraption?  I want to call it a charibang or touring car.  Any ideas?

I scanned this tiny photo this morning and was sad to read what was written on the back of it by my paternal grandmother.



I think this is an Oldsmobile.  It belonged to my paternal grandfather - Edwin Arthur James Conner.

Here's my paternal Uncle Ted in his favourite contraption - the Tiger Moth.


Here's my mother again in front of another contraption - a buggy I think.



And with another contraption when she was a bit younger....a pram for a doll.


And here's me on my favourite contraption when I was three in Edinburgh - a tricycle.



I fear I've worn you out with contraptions.  Beg pardon.

What's your favourite contraption?

Head on over to Sepia Saturday to see more queer machines and makeshift contrivances....

37 comments:

diane b said...

You have certainly dug up a lot of contraptions operated by your family members. I love your Grandfather's wheelchair and the long car for group tours would be called a stretch limo today.

Brett Payne said...

Either that running board was a very wide one, or Shirley was rather narrow in the beam! Charabanc's the word, by the way.

Alex Daw said...

Diane - of course! A stretch limo! Why didn't I think of that?

Alex Daw said...

Oh Brett. Thank you - I thought I was going mad. Bless you.

Alex Daw said...

PS Yes I think Shirley was rather narrow in the beam :)

tony said...

What A Mobile Family! :)I know the old stretched limolooks big,but they still,surely,didnt ALL fit in there?

anyjazz said...

You must have a marvelous collection of family photographs to draw from. Excellent.

Alan Burnett said...

It is clear to see that photography has always been an important part of you continuing family history. And the wonders of a print slowly emerging in a bath of developer is a wonder never to be forgotten.

Little Nell said...

Alex, you've found some real gems here, but my favourite is that first one of you with the camera.I I'm a gadget freak myself and can totally empathise with that.

Alex Daw said...

Tony, I reckon they did!

Alex Daw said...

I do anyjazz. I'm almost overwhelmed :)

Alex Daw said...

Yes indeed Alan...it's about the only Chemistry I ever got excited about :)

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Little Nell - aha - another early adopter like me :)

Boobook said...

You have a wonderful set of photos here. Thanks for sharing.

Kristin said...

I love the one of Mr. Forfar down by the harbor in his wheel chair. On the one hand, it's sad your grandfather died soon after getting his dream car, on the other hand it's nice he did get it.

Mike Brubaker said...

A marvelous assembly of family wheels. Photos with cars have an advantage over those with horses and wagons in that they are easy to date.

Liz Needle said...

Your family was certainly great at snapping contraptions. I think the 'stretch limo' was called a "charabanc" - meaning a wagon with seats, according to my dictionary.

Bob Scotney said...

A superb set of family photos and means of getting mobile. Glad to see the spaniel getting a ride with Dick.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I had a tricycle just like yours! I was also fascinated by contraptions but inclined to take them apart to see how they worked, so I'm told.

Jackie van Bergen said...

You have combined contraptions with Trove with next weeks sepia saturday - all into one!
Love the Newcastle wheelchair - it looks almost laid back.

Tattered and Lost said...

That's quite a fine contraption for visiting the wharf. It is amazing how far wheel chairs have come. A young cousin of mine was recently paralyzed from the waist down following an accident. A fancy lightweight wheel chair and special levers in a new car and he's once again on the go as if nothing had happened. Someone is always tinkering with contraptions making them better and better.

TICKLEBEAR said...

I think George picked a weird spot for a nap,
and might have been in for a rude awakening.
Great series BTW!!
:)~
HUGZ

Wendy said...

My favorite is napping on the running board with the gramophone nearby. I have a picture of some picnickers with a gramophone too.

Alex Daw said...

Thank you for visiting :)

Alex Daw said...

It's a fantastic article isn't it Kristin. And yes, I agree...how many of us get our dream car?

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Mike. I didn't realise how many different cars there were until I started collecting them together !

Alex Daw said...

Yes Liz, I think you are correct. It's a great word isn't it?

Alex Daw said...

I think the Wingfields/Forfars really loved their dogs - so many in all the photos.

Alex Daw said...

I know Jackie. I couldn't believe it when I saw the prompt for next week - doh! Oh well.

Alex Daw said...

And haven't prams come a long way too now? Just incredible some of them.

Alex Daw said...

Yes, I thought it weird too....couldn't they have moved just a bit further off the road???? Thanks for your kind words.

Alex Daw said...

Get out of here. The tricycle looks so big doesn't it? I can't imagine taking it apart though.

Postcardy said...

You have an interesting collection of photos. The picnics would be good for next week.

Sharon said...

I cant help but wonder how Dick ended up in the wheelchair?

I loved the photo of your mum and the camera. This would have made a great advertisement for Kodak. However my favourite photo is also the nap on the running board.

Alex Daw said...

Ooh Sharon! That's a whole other blog post.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Postcardy. Yes indeed :)

Alex Daw said...

Yes I was a bit chuffed to uncover that particular photo this week...I almost passed it over.