I had a random memory of a seaside resort where, just off shore, they were building a replica of the Colossus of Rhodes. It was a flimsy replica, not meant to stand for more than a season, and I think a winter storm finally took it out, but for a moment it was there, standing proudly as bathers in curious and unflattering swimsuits gazed in wonder.
I had another memory of being at an airfield somewhere. I can’t remember if it was a French or British airfield. They were doing some repairs on what I believe was either a Sopwith Camel or a Nieuport, and they had the engine cowl off, exposing the curious engine.
I had seen engines in cars, but they were usually two to four cylinders in a neat little row. This was entirely different, it was like the jet engine of its day. It was a technological masterpiece and I admired its perfect circular shape, its myriad fine tubes of copper and blued steel where inlets, outlets, and pushrods could be found.
It seems like the heads were stamped with a little oval logo, though it may have been something in the way they were shaped.
I think they were inspecting it, perhaps oiling it here or there where it needed. It seems this was routine maintenance. For me it was the most beautiful mechanical work of art I had ever seen.
If I can confirm that I would have been near an airfield, that would be a nice boost for this memory being genuine. I also must note that even though I have not amended the text file where I logged my recollection to say so, I did notice the propeller appeared to be bolted to the engine. I then found today, before posting the text of this log with some small edits, that this would have been an identifying feature of a Gnome rotary engine, which could confirm the plane being a Nieuport as I had conjectured in my original notes, as well as a Sopwith Camel. I’m kicking myself for not jotting that detail down now.
And if I can confirm the replica of the Colossus of Rhodes, I’ll have something very interesting on my hands. I do know that the Victorians in particular liked to build whimsical things by the sea, in places like Brighton and Blackpool. An enterprising showman’s attempt to build a replica of the Colossus of Rhodes at a resort like that would have been par for the course if I know the Victorian mindset well enough.
I know in America, they built things like the elephant at Coney Island, and it was known as far away as Paris (Jardin de Paris had one back in 1889, which was recreated for the film “Moulin Rouge).
I’ll have to do some more research to see if a replica of Greece’s ancient colossus was ever built in England.