A couple of items I picked up at auction some time ago have sat on my shelf with me wondering why I actually bought them and what on earth I should do with them.
The first item is a bit more common and is an Altimeter out of an RAF plane, probably just after WWII. It is a MK19A (whatever that signifies!) and from the look of it you can just imagine Douglas Bader sitting in the cockpit of his Spitfire looking at an array of similar dials. It even seems to work if you apply some suction to the tube at the back (I learnt this from an online listing for a similar item) although I assume it would require testing or just be a nice display piece in fine condition.
The other item – also, I assume, from late WWII or just beyond that period – is a fairly heavy Bakelite box and inside is a “ContactorMaster Type 2, 10A/10994, 24v”. It has a winder as in a clockwork toy and also a stop/start switch. From the (very) limited information online I discovered that this was the clock/timer used to set a plane to explode, presumably to stop it falling into enemy hands. I hasten to add that this is not the explosive device itself, just the clock with a cable and plug to attach it to the plane.
The only other reference I have been able to find to one of these is an identical item in the British Museum within a clock collection donated in the 1950s, so it seems to be a rare thing. Not sure if this is of interest to the clock collector or militaria collector, but it is available in my ebay store here if anybody is interested, and the altimeter is here.