Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stephenson's Rocket - automata kit...and book!

Stephenson's Rocket - Wood automata kit
I've been rambling at length to anyone who will listen about this great book I just finished called The Most Powerful Idea in the World, which centers around a locomotive named "Rocket" invented by Robert Stephenson in 1829. It just so happens that automata kits have also been on my mind a lot lately too. Imagine my surprise when the good people at Cabaret Mechanical Theatre sent out a recent email featuring a wood automata kit of Stephenson's Rocket!

The book is one of the best I have ever read on the history of technology (and have read many). The author uses Rocket as a destination and leads the reader on several avenues of inquiry to explore its invention: history, culture, technology, invention, economics, science, industry, intellectual property...even psychology. It's incredible. Someone should make a documentary series based on this book!

As for the kit, I haven't assembled this one myself, but it looks like a nice model. All of the Timberkits are made of solid wood pieces that you simply peg and glue together according to the instructions.

Here's where you can order the wood automata kit of Stephenson's Rocket. For those of us in the USA, you can also get the kit at Here's the product page for Stephenson's Rocket kit.

Here's where you can get a copy of the book The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention

The two items together would make a very nice gift package for the mechanical-historian type of person in your life.

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