This strange looking object is an adjustable air-bladder lumbar support which would have provided a comfortable ride for Queen Elizabeth II during her 1954 tour of Australia. Our conservators found two of these supports incorporated in the rear seat of the Royal Daimler, during our treatment and documentation. This support is just one of the luxury features of this 1948 36hp Daimler landaulette. It also had electric windows, and electric sunroof, silk interior blinds, heating, a radio and an intercom. The lumbar support uses a Schrader valve and a foot pump to control the pressure and subsequent comfort. The cushion was found inside a neat calico pouch.
Image of the adjustable rubberised lumbar support cushion as removed from the passenger seat of the Royal Daimler
In the last six months we have been working on the body and interior of the Daimler – involving a lot of dismantling, a lot of close inspection and a whole range of decision-making.
The Royal Daimler is a coach built vehicle – the chassis, engine and running gear were built by Daimler, while the body, interior and final fit out was carried out by the coachbuilders Hooper and Co.
Just as much painstaking detail has gone into dismantling the Hooper-built component, as has gone into the original build. As we have peeled away the layers, we have gained a detailed understanding of the construction method and materials used to create this vehicle, as well as insight into the demands faced by Hooper and Co. to make vehicles fit for a Royal tour.
Nathan Pharaoh and Ian Stewart removing the rear landaulette “hood” for full examination, documentation of its construction and decisions on treatment.
Some of the components are in really good condition, others in really quite poor condition. This is partly due to the materials used and their inherent durability, but it has also been affected by the life history of the vehicle. Faced with such extremes in condition, we have had to really balance our options for retaining original materials (the preferred course of action) and replacing components that are badly deteriorated, with a view to creating a coherent whole in the end. Quite challenging at times! At each decision point we carefully weigh up significance, condition, functionality and the availability of the skills to do the work.
We have been making great progress and will be sharing before and after treatment information on the:
Dash panels Armrests Seats Carpets Wiring Interior lights Handles Switches Window motors Doors
The Daimler project has been a bit silent recently. I would like to say we have been working on being mysterious but that would be only part of the story. As you know we work on a lot of different objects and we have had to give the Paddle Steamer Enterprise a lot of TLC lately. We are also proud to report that the National Museum’s Model T Ford Truck – the Aeroplane Jelly truck – is now on display in Canberra airport. And it is getting a lot of visitors. Continue reading →
Ken Houlahan and Ian Stewart securing the starter motor to the engine.
Shortly after the installation of the engine’s crankshaft, the team here at the National Museum got busy bolting on the auxiliary engine components with the aim of reuniting the vehicle’s engine to the newly treated chassis.
But before the engine is installed, we need to carry out a few leak tests and pressure tests.
Nathan Pharaoh, Large Technology Conservator and Prue Castles, Senior Objects Conservator examining damaged areas of paint on the Daimler body
Happy New Year.
Work is continuing on the Royal Daimler and we are hoping to provide more updates in the coming weeks. We have made progress with the engine and more detailed planning for work on the body is gearing up. Continue reading →