John Scott-Scott: an interest in model engines

Aeronautical engineer John Scott-Scott discusses his lifetime hobby of collecting model engines.

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Well, it started way back when I was very small as small, if you like. This is what we used to do. We all used to make model aeroplanes. And you start off by making the wooden sort that just look like an aeroplane, the bug bites you and says, well, these ought to fly. So you start making small flying model aircraft, and roundabout, I would think – well, soon after the war, small engines came onto the market. They were mainly diesel engines. You put fuel in its tank and off it would go. And we flew them on lines that are called control lines. And we could fly them at the local sort of racecourse or anywhere, for that matter. In Doncaster the middle of the racecourse is actually a golf course, so there’s lots of nice greens and we used to go and fly off those and annoy the golfers a lot [laughs]. We used to say, ‘They’re rather nice, aren’t they?’ You know, ‘cause these aircraft are on wheels and they roar round until the take off. So yes, and I bought that as being one of the first ones, called a Mills, having saved up for a year for it. That fired things off, getting one diesel, which – you can put it in a variety of aeroplanes but they’ve all got to be roughly the same size ‘cause of power limitations. Eventually I swapped another one with a chap at school and I can’t remember what I swapped him for, but I’ve got his diesel as well. Now it so happens that I just can’t help being fascinated by engines of all sorts like that. And I counted up the other day and to my surprise there’s now a collection of very nearly 200 engines. In later life, what I’ve done is to try and study the best points of many of them, it’s quite an interesting exercise, and set to using my own machinery to make some.

  • Interviewee John Scott-Scott
  • Duration 00:01:59
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 10/15/2010
  • Shelfmark C1379/32

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