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2009/24/1-9 Photographic glass plate negative, Clyde single horse works, made by Clyde Engineering Company Limited, Granville, New South Wales, Australia, 1883-1930. Click to enlarge.

Clyde single horse works with drive shaft

Made 1883-1930

Clyde single horse works with drive shaft coupled to crank mechanism with fly-wheel. This turned horsepower into a generator.

Almost all of the glass plate negatives in the Clyde photograph collection were taken at the Clyde works in Granville, and depict both the workers and the machinery they manufactured. Subjects covered include: railway locomotives and rolling stock; agricultural equipment; large engineering projects funded by Australian State and Federal governments; airplane maintenance ...


Object No.


Object Statement

Photographic glass plate negative, Clyde single horse works, made by Clyde Engineering Company Limited, Granville, New South Wales, Australia, 1883-1930

Physical Description

Photographic glass plate negative, Clyde single horse works, made by Clyde Engineering Company Limited, Granville, New South Wales, Australia, 1883-1930

A rectangular black and white silver gelatin glass plate negative in landscape format. Image depicts a Clyde single horse works with drive shaft coupled to crank mechanism with fly-wheel. Sign reads 'CONSERVATION OF WATER / EMPLOYEES ARE KINDLY REQUESTED TO ECONOMISE IN / THE USE OF WATER ON ACCOUNT OF / EXTREME SCARCITY. / 1/3/02'. Underneath thhis signage there is another placed onto the same pole which reads, 'THIS Hose is / STRICTLY / for FIRE / PURPOSES ONLY'. The fly wheel has 'CLYDE ENGENEERING CO LTD GRANVILLE AND SYDNEY' written on it.


There is handwritten black ink text directly on the plate which reads, '455'.



164 mm


215 mm


1.5 mm





This collection consists of around 70 half-plate glass photographic negatives. Glass plates were first used to support photographic emulsions in the late 1840s and remained in continuous use right through until the middle of the twentieth century. While the earliest plates supported 'dry' and 'wet' collodion emulsions these were replaced with silver gelatin emulsions in the 1880s. Unlike earlier plates these were mass produced on a huge scale and were capable of fast speeds even at half and full plate sizes.

One drawback of this process was that larger plate sizes required a correspondingly large camera to fit the plate. These were relatively cumbersome and when you take into consideration the weight of the glass plates it is no surprise to find they were mainly used for studio and commercial work. However they were still favoured by many professionals for a long time after roll film was introduced by Kodak in the late 1880s. This was because the large plates could be more easily worked on for masking, and their contact prints provided better results than some of the early enlarging equipment.

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, 2009



This collection of photographs complements another collection of photographs (88/289) acquired by the Powerhouse Museum in 1988. This collection of photographs was removed from Clyde Engineering when the offices were being relocated but the numbers on the glass plates and the sleeves make it clear that at some stage it was a part of a larger collection that included the 1300 half-plate glass negatives and approximately 4000 tri-acetate negatives which came to the Museum from Clyde Engineering in 1988. When this group of photographs was separated from the rest is unclear but it appears that some made their way into James Murray's 1992 publication on the history of Clyde Industries, 'Phoenix to the World' and thus may have been separated in preparation for that publication.

The subject matter contained in the half-plate glass negatives covers over 60 years of the Clyde Engineering Company's activities in New South Wales. It starts in the 1880s when the company was still called Hudson Brothers and goes through to the late 1940s. Most of these images were taken at the Clyde Works in Granville, Sydney, New South Wales and many include interior and exterior images of the people and workshops at Clyde Engineering and on the banks of the Duck River.

Some appear to have been commissioned to record the completion of particular Clyde projects such as locomotives, boilers and agricultural equipment at the Clyde works. A few have been photographed in other locations such as the aircraft photographs taken at Bankstown Airport and some works photographed after delivery.

A few photographs are copies of original photographic prints, blueprints and pages from books and these are hard to accurately date. As most of the original negatives were taken over a long time period it is almost certain the photographs are the work of numerous photographers, unfortunately their identity is at present unknown.

Some of the negatives have appeared in a Clyde booklet published for the delegates of the 'Seventh Congress of the Chamber of Commerce of the British Empire in 1909' and a Clyde booklet held by the museum which was published around 1945. These publications and the fact that some of the negatives have been masked make it clear that the while the photographers were cataloguing the accomplishments of the company they were also creating content used to advertise and promote the company's products.

Two photographers who did photographic work for Clyde from the 1960s onwards were Charles French of 87 Yarram Street, Lidcombe in New South Wales and Jack Draper, an employee and photographer employed by Clyde Engineering around the same period.

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, 2009

Cite this Object


Clyde single horse works with drive shaft 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 11 December 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Clyde single horse works with drive shaft |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=11 December 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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