Archive for July, 2010

Eeny meeny miny mo…I’ll take that one

How do you pick a winner?

Lucky dip? The Stars? A Hunch? Perhaps a tip from friend who insists it’s a ‘cert’? It’s not easy picking a winner. Any of you who place a few pounds on the Grand National will be able to back me up on that.

What about when the gamble isn’t on sports, but on an object for your leisure? Time and time people are forced to make these decisions and someone always has to lose. Take the Betamax for example. Many people bought these machines in good faith that they were the future. That they would transform the way we watched TV for years to come. These people were almost right…but they were still wrong. It was the VHS which was adopted by the major film studios and distributors and Betamax was left to it’s own little place in history.

Which brings me to the object featured in this blog. The 8-track stereo.

Mike Oldfield, Diana Ross, Joni Mitchell, Rod Stewart, The Temptations and The Eagles

Were you one of the unlucky ones to back the wrong horse. Whilst being more popular in America than in the UK, 8-track stereos (or Stereo8 to give it’s official title) were still available to buy here. Unfotunately so was the cassette tape. Cheaper, rewindable and easier to record on, the cassette was the VHS to the 8-track’s betamax. It’s popularity dwindled until, about ten years after it was released, no new commercial records were released on the 8-track.

A few 8-track tapes have survived within the museum along with a stereo. Big, bulky and with only a small amount of space on them it is a far cry from today’s downloading culture.

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Now you see it…Now you don’t

Whenever there is a big occasion it is never hard to find someone selling a souvenir or momento. The World Cup final, the death of someone famous or even the coronation of the Queen. The object in the video is a keyring from the collection which was sold during the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

Like watching paint dry

Pennine Lancashire is famous for many things but it was the cotton industry that gave it a worldwide audience. Most of the towns, including Blackburn and Darwen, were famous for their mills. That, however, does not mean that there were no other industries. In the land of King Cotton there were a few notable success stories and one of these was the Walpamur company of Darwen.

The company began life as Hilton’s Paper mills in the mid 19th century. By 1906 they had an on-site laboratory and were manufacturing paint and wallpaper. The company changed it’s name to the Wall Paper Manufacturers’ company which it eventually shortened to WalPaMur. The company grew in size and World War II made 90,000 gallons of white paint which were used on vessels as part of the D-Day landings. The company has changed hands over the years and is now best recognised as Crown Paints who still have their headquarters in Darwen.

The little history lesson I have just supplied is to provide a bit of background to the tin of paint I am featuring in this blog entry. Yes, that’s right. A tin of paint.

The last remaining tin?

Why is this tin so special? It is believed to be the last remaining tin of Walpamur’s Duradio paint left in the world. I can’t be sure abou this as there may be more lurking in a shed, forgotten at the back of a shelf, but as far the museum is aware it is the only one. Do you have a tin at home? Or perhaps you remember using some? Make a comment if you do, we would love to know.


Blackburn Museum can be found in Blackburn, Lancashire. It houses objects documenting Blackburn's industrial past as well as a world class collection of Fine Art, Japanese prints, Icons, Numismatics and Manuscripts. Come and visit us to find out more.

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