About

Where we started

Entrepreneurs can never really retire.

If you have a curious nature and fascination with how things work, as I do, you never stop being interested in new ideas. In my case, however, the catalyst for the ‘new idea’ was over 100 years old.

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Before I set up the Old Model Company I spent thirty years in the medical device industry, specialising in respiratory products. I began, as many do, by selling products. In my case it was intensive care unit respirators in the UK and Europe, which then led on to training technicians in Europe and the Middle East. In 1977 I formed my own company, Medic-Aid Limited, and spent 17 years building it from scratch. If you were ever asthmatic and used a nebulizer chances are that it was a Porta-Neb or Freeway unit, both of which used a Sidestream or Ventstream nebulizer, all designed by yours truly.

Following the successful sale of the company, I realised that I actually had time on my hands, which gave me the chance to get involved in something I loved to do – an indulgence one rarely has when running a business. My chosen project was to renovate an old model steam engine once owned by my father, a model of a Mill Engine with a cylinder of about 2, 1/4 in diameter. It was made by a Mr Joe Butler in Birmingham in about 1910 while he was working for the Wright Company who manufactured Ships Logs. Once I had finished restoring this model I came across another I used to play with as a boy – the original “Rocking Engine” – also made by Joe Butler.

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Amazingly this 100 year old engine still worked, and so began my research into the origins of these engines. The more I delved onto this subject the more fascinated I became with these old models, and I set about making a replica of the original Rocking Engine. When people saw it they asked if I could make them one. Before I knew it I was in business again.

Because of the Old Model Company I now get to meet and talk to lots of wonderful and truly knowledgeable people from all over the world. I can’t think of anything better!