Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Manual Labour?

Lately I've been wondering why I've been struggling to write various outstanding 'blog posts. I've been pretty busy tending the 28 ton mistress, particularly to do with security issues amongst other things but no 'blog inspiration. Then it occurred to me what was getting in the way - writing itself!

Much of the enjoyment in restoration work is seeing the result taking shape but there is a more serious side when the result will be a working steam locomotive - convincing a boiler inspector and others that a competent, professional job has been done in the process. This has always been one reason underpinning Sentinel 7109's 'blog.

Sentinel Manual Front Cover (used!)
Recently Richard Nixon, drawings' custodian from the Sentinel Drivers' Club, kindly loaned me a 65 page Sentinel document entitled "200 HP Sentinel Steam Locomotives - Instruction Manual". The manual was obviously typed on a manual typewriter judging from the layout and I would guess around 1950. Despite being written for a much later twin engined loco with double gears, the usefulness of the document is not lost on me as a basis for Sentinel 7109's own instruction manual.

So, laboriously, I've scanned the whole manual with an Optical Character Recogniser to produce 65 pages of complete gobbledygook which I am now trans-scribing back into a useful form. After about four days dipping in and out of it, I've reached page 12 - no wonder my 'blog writing is taking a back seat! Normal service will hopefully be resumed shortly!

As a sample, page 1 of the manual is shown below (click it to enlarge).

Page 1
It cordially invites the reader to write in and hence become part of a fraternity of Sentinel operators. Nowadays we'd probably refer to this as a social network!

It also refers to keeping the manual to "reasonable proportions so that it can be carried readily in the pocket". Bearing in mind that it is on foolscap paper, all I can say is that, in those days, people must have had very large pockets!

The importance of the manual becomes obvious as it is written for new owners taking the loco out of its box for the first time to set it to work. It's a good read to the right person!

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