ANYONE who can remember gramophone, 'A and B' public telephones and morse code keys will feel pangs of nostalgia in the lovingly curated Museum of Technology at Hemel Hempstead.
Tucked away on the old town High Street, Trevor Cass and Rosie Hourihane have more than 1,000 items on display from 1850 to 1980.
And for the younger generation the collection provides a fascinating physical timeline of the technological revolution.
With pieces dating from as far back as the Victorian era to giant 1980s mobile phones there is an endless number of original and replica pieces to enthral all ages.
The museum also boasts an impressive range of artefacts from the First and Second World War.
There is an eclectic mix on display, from weaponry and pieces uncovered from battlefields to personal letters and medals, the latter often donations from local families who have treasured their ancestors' belongings.
Trevor launched the museum in 2000 with little more than a selection of telephones.
The collection has since gone from strength to strength and is now so extensive it threatens to burst the walls of its base.
A fascination with technology began in childhood for Trevor, who had made the decision to become a radio and television engineer before he had even reached his teens.
His long career in electronic servicing means he is able to weave magic on vintage pieces and get them back into working order.
Rosie said: "It wouldn't be as interesting if people could only look at the displays, but Trevor is a whizz kid with electronics and I love it when he is able to make something work again.
"There are lots of pieces like that and he can demonstrate them for visitors.
"People just look in wonderment at things they probably didn't think they would see again."
An 'A and B' public phone once used in a pub, an air raid siren, and a gramophone that will sing out original Gracie Fields and Bing Crosby records are all among the working items.
Trevor said: "Advances in technology have soared in the last 50 years but people have quickly forgotten how it all started.
"One of the biggest reasons we do this is because people think that mobile phones, for example, simply grow on trees, but they had to start somewhere and they started in a very different form.
"It is important to look into how much work goes into developing those things and where it all began."
The Museum of Technology can be found at 81 High Street, Hemel Hempstead and can be contacted on 01442 262541.
Entry to the museum is usually by appointment only, but Trevor and Rosie are holding open days on September 6-9, as part of a national Heritage Open Days scheme.
Entrance is free and opening times are from 10am to 4pm each day.
See our online video report on the Museum of Technology accessible via the link on our Gazette website at: www.hemeltoday.co.uk and click on 'Gazette video'.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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