The concept of preservation is pretty straight forward. If it’s endangered save it, take it out of reach of people who might want to scrap it, modify it in an unacceptable way or possibly just abandon it for a long and steady decline to extinction.
However once an item is in preservation many options exist. The first reaction that most people have is to restore it to as new condition. This is appropriate in many situations particularly if there are none in existence in that state. However that is not necessarily the way forward. The other option which is growing in popularity is to restore it or to bring it back to good, sound, working condition mechanically but to leave it in its original working clothes. In other words for the patina to be exactly as it would have been when it was doing its job. A very good example of this is our second Buffel. We already have the restored Buffel so that is not an option but having obtained another one literally from the scrap yard of the Armour Museum in Bloemfontein we decided to work on it mechanically but to leave it in its working clothes. As a result it looks very attractive, it looks very original, very genuine and arguably more at home in the South African veldt. It would look more at home in the South African veldt that a brand new shiny one.
More and more at Sandstone we are freezing the restoration process at this point and if it doesn’t look like it should we can give it a superficial make over and let time do the rest i.e. time will very rapidly bring it back to a state that it would have found itself in anyway.
Our gallery shows the Buffel as we found it at the Armour Museum and then after a quick clean up and check over in the workshop it was in service for firefighting at the Easter Steam 2023 event.