Bradford-on-Avon Museum & Preservation Trust commissioned us to design a canopy for the Iron Duke, the first ‘calender machine’ used to roll sheet rubber and cotton together and vulcanise them.
The project which creates a bespoke enclosure of corten canopy & glass sides to the Duke was completed in the autumn of 2016.
The Iron Duke is the original rubber bonding ‘calender’ machine used in the Kingston Mills Factory in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire in use from 1849 to 1970. It was commissioned by Stephen Moulton and made the famous Avon rubber. It was named the ‘Iron Duke’ after the Duke of Wellington and was probably the first machine in Europe to produce the resilient rubber, enabling the production of all manner of objects we now take for granted from vehicle tyres to tennis balls.
Our task was to design a prefabricated enclosure that would exactly fit the machine within the constricted space. The problem was that there were no drawings of the Iron Duke or record of how it was dismantled. A couple of grainy old sepia photographs of the machine in use, surrounded by and connected to other components was all we had to go on. What constituted ‘the machine’ was not clear. Faced with this complex three dimensional jigsaw and only a vague notion of it’s final form, we decided to use ArchiCAD to model the individual iron components and thereby build an accurate virtual model for it’s reconstruction.
We measured each component of the Iron Duke and took plenty of photos. Back at the office we started the task of modelling each part separately. From these components we were able to resolve and assemble the 3D puzzle in zero gravity!