Everyday Technology of the Past

The Faraday Centre houses a wealth of machines and appliances dating back to the 1880s, offering insights into how New Zealanders lived in earlier times and how technologies have evolved.

Start Date 04/02/2013
Finish Date 06/07/2017
Duration 1.5 hours
Years Years 9 - 13
Cost $4.00 per secondary student; accompanying adults free
Venue The Faraday Centre
Learning Areas Technology, Social Sciences, at the Faraday Centre

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Extraordinary technological changes over the past 150 years have transformed our society. At the Faraday Centre, students can explore, compare and operate everyday technology from before and after the introduction of electricity, motor vehicles, radio and telephones. Choose a timeframe or theme and ask our educators to plan an activity trail for your students, arrange a teacher's pre-visit so you can plan your own programme, or book one of our educator-led programmes:

  • Homefront: Everyday Technology 1914-18
  • Everyday Technology 1880s-1920s
  • Everyday Technology 1930s-1940s
  • Everyday Technology of the Past - Communications Focus
  • Everyday Technology of the Past - Entertainment Focus
  • Everday Technology of the Past - investigations tailored to your teaching focus

Here are some examples of the range of technologies at the Faraday Centre:

Household Energy Supplies: Find out how people lit and heated their homes before electricity, turn the handle on a machine that converted petrol to gas for household lighting and investigate some hazardous uses for kerosene. See the mighty Fullagar engine that powered electricity generators in Napier's Powerhouse (now the Faraday Centre) last century.

Transport: How long did it take stagecoaches to get from Napier to Taupo? Why did passengers on Napier’s steam buses get covered in soot? Find answers to these questions, examine a horse-drawn buggy and climb aboard a 1907 Rover motor car that boasted the power of six horses!

Home Appliances: Work out how to use a scrub board and tin tub, mangle, ice chest, manual sewing machine and hand-pumped vacuum cleaner. Check out an Orion fuel stove central to family life in New Zealand at the turn of last century. Find out why Mrs Potts’s iron was called ‘sad’ and had a clip-on handle.

Communications Technology: Tap out a message on a Morse code transmitter or manual typewriter, send a note by catapult, check out some of Napier’s first radios, operate a manual telephone exchange and phone a friend on the crank-handle telephones.

Entertainment Technology: Explore entertainment technology from harmoniums, stereoscopes and gramophones to the birth of cinema and radio. Play a 1930s pinball machine. Have a go at playing the pianola – using no hands, just your feet.

For more information phone Gaynor on (06) 833 9788, or book now

Back to Secondary - All Programmes


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