Stationary Engines – the wifi hubs of 1929


I took my son down to the Plumpton College open day on Saturday… It
was his perfect thing, really. Lots of animals (check), lots of big
impressive looking farm machinery (check), lots of people doing things
to watch (check).

What I didn’t know there would be is a massive display of stationary
engines, which fascinated us both… This is a Lister D stationary

They were used in places where the newfangled power of the day, electricity, wasn’t yet available, but people had a need for it.  This one has some particularly brutal looking sheep shears attached.

It occurs that stationary engines were essentially the wifi hubs of their day.

There is a need for the power (electricity then/connectivity now) in more places than it is freely available.

So people either buy their own device to get access to power, or they invest in a machine that provides power and rent it to others, or offer it as part of another service.

I have no doubt that we’ll see wireless connectivity disappear into an easy to access, part of the fabric of all buildings power source.  No passwords, no choice of connections, less and less varying quality.

But given they were still making the Lister Stationary Engine in 1964, it’ll probably take longer than we imagine to happen.