A dragon that’s a vacuum cleaner, a computer with an elephant’s face and a car fueled by after shave lotion are just some of the witty and whimsical imaginings of Rowland Emmet.
Born in London, England in 1906, Emmet was an illustrator, inventor and tinkerer and the man behind many of the contraptions featured in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The film brought him international success following its release.
From December 3, 2018 to January 6, 2019, the Ontario Science Centre exhibits many of the mesmerizing imaginings of the master tinkerer in Dream Machines. With the largest collection of Emmet Machines in the world, the exhibition tells a story through characters, sound, movement and the unexpected.
Each figure is a character that represents a story and the story is told through the re-imagined use of everyday objects (from the mid-century) making them very relatable and a bit nostalgic. With so many moving parts and layers to each piece, viewing them feels a little like solving a series of riddles – did you see the fried egg? The cheese grater? What part of the story does it tell?
With the whimsy and wonder that many associate with Christmas, the gizmos intersect engineering and play and evoke the old-fashioned toy trains and music boxes that used to be given as gifts making Dream Machines a wonderful outing for the family this holiday season.
Find more information about the exhibition and all the programming at the Ontario Science Centre this season – including Toronto’s only permanent planetarium and SNOLAB by visiting Ontario Science Centre.