Dot’s Time Machine


centrifugal governor 2
centrifugal governor


Sunday afternoon I visited the Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park again. Today was a poor weather day, so I visited the park’s museum.  The 13,000 square foot museum was first opened in 1981, and underwent a over haul of its exhibits in 2005.

One of the museum more recent exhibits is one of the oldest steam engines in America, an 1835 Dotterer Steam Engine. This particular engine was once used on a rice plantation in South Carolina and was also a part the original collection acquired by Henry Ford during the 1920s. At one time the engine was exhibited at his museum at Greenfield Village. The engine is very similar to the type of engine that was used at Tannehill.


centrifugal governor
centrifugal governor


Today I was photographing several close ups of its different components. This is actually a centrifugal governor. A governor  controls the speed of an engine by regulating the amount of fuel.  Think of it as a type of cruise control for a steam engine.  It uses the principle of proportional control to maintain a near constant speed for whatever are the load or fuel supply conditions.

However, I couldn’t help but think how much this odd looking device reminded me of something for a time machine instead of a steam engine part.



Since I couldn’t think of another way to work the next picture in to this story,  I guess that if we are traveling back in time, we must have ended up in the old west. It’s amazing what you’ll find at state park these days.

Now if only I could find the keys to my Delorean.




18 thoughts on “Dot’s Time Machine

  1. These are wonderful images, Phillip. As I’ve just said in my new post on my own blog — and I thank you for being the first to comment there — museums and galleries usually have such wonderful light already set up for the photographer. The light here is beautiful, and the details positively gleam. And yes, it could be a time machine. i’m thinking that, especially from the second shot.

    Beam me up please!

    1. Thanks Andrew. I have mixed feeling about the light in this museum. Some turned wonderful and I was fortunate to be able to shoot with a slow shutter speed. Other exhibits just didn’t have the light that I wanted. However, I thought of an idea that I’m going to try on my next trip. I’m going to take a small flash light and use it as an extra light. Now of course there places that you wouldn’t want to do something like this. However, I think that I might get some interesting effects by using it here.

  2. I like all these close-ups, but in particular the second of the centrifugal governor. It’s so intricate and so detailed, and the frame has so many layers of depth. The contrast between the blueish and the golden colours enhances the feeling of the picture. The graphics and the composition just works so well in this one. Great work!

    1. Thank you Otto. I actually lowered my tripod and was shooting at an upward angle when I took this image. So the blue that you see are the windows along the top of the wall. I not necessarily sure why they are reflecting blue since the weather was threatening to rain most of the day.

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