Maldon U3A - Meetings 2009 - January & February

January Monthly Meeting

The Chairman welcomed everyone using the public address speakers purchased with the Lottery Grant - this produced much better sound without feedback.

After the Co-ordinators gave out their news there was a break to pay for outings etc.

We were then introduced to Dr Geoff Fowler who presented "The History of Television".

Dr Fowler - History of TV
Dr Fowler - The History of Television
Photos by J Bowen

Using his digital projector he started by asking the question "What really is Television?"
In answering this he showed a number of early slides including one with the name "Braun" on it.   It looked as though it had been produced electronically but it transpired it was produced with 2 potentiometer in about 1841!

Later slides showed the Victorians looking at a flat screen, wall mounted - but 1884!

He followed the history mentioning the involvement of the Russians, Germans and Americans.

Dr Fowler then told the stories of Logi Baird from his various exploits from men's socks to jam production, finally finishing with spinning disk TVs in the period 1930 to 37.

Logi Baird
Logi Baird

Dual Standard TV about 1936
Dual Standard TV about 1936
During the BBC Trials the owner watched the Baird System for one week and then the EMI-Marconi system for the next week.   This was repeated for 6 months during which time a large number of sets were purchased (or made).

Logi Baird donated the first TV to a hospital
Logi Baird donated the first TV to a hospital

By the time WWII was declared there were 19,000 TVs in use around London but by then only using the electronic system on 405 lines.

Blumeline held many patents re TV systems
Blumeline held many patents re TV systems besides inventing Stereo Records & FM Radio.
Unforunately he died in an aircraft accident while testing HF Radar.

Blumeline held many patents re TV systems Blumeline held many patents re TV systems
Right hand Test Card was for 405 line systems - Left hand Test Card was produced for the 625 Line system introduced in the mid 1960s.
A face is usually present on Colour Test Cards to enable the TV to be adjusted correctly for skin tones.

Dr Fowler concluded his talk by showing a slide of a 108Inch LCD (Flat Screen) modern TV
Note the size of the man by its side.

108 Inch LCD TV

February Monthly Meeting

The Chairman welcomed everyone and commented it was nice to see the back of the snow & ice we have had for the past month or so.

He reminder everyone to check the date on their New Photo Driving Licence in Section 4(b) quoted on the front, 5th line down.
It is only current for 10 years up to the age of 70.   The DVLA are supposed to write to you & tell you if it needs replacing - have you missed it?

After the Co-ordinators gave out their news there was a break to pay for outings etc.

Stuart Baldwin was then introduced to present his Talk entitled "Bees"

February U3A Meeting
    Stuart Baldwin
Stuart started off his presentation by showing typical example of the Bumble Bee, the Wasp and then the domestic Worker Bee.

He said that the Bee was responcible for producing a vast amount of our food - without it - the produce would not be polinated & therefore not grow.

February U3A Meeting
    The Bee on a flower, notice the Pollen Sacks full
The typical Bee "nest" was housed for years in a straw Skep - conical shaped house to keep the Bees warm & dry.

The problem came when one wanted to collect the honey! The honey comb is used to support the "nest" which is hexagonal in shape and has not changed for millions of years.

Having smoked out the bees one still had to get at the honey which was difficult.

Mr Langstroft produced a wooden "Hive" at the turn of the century and that revolutionalised Honey production as the Combs were supported on wooden frames and could be removed quite easily.

February U3A Meeting
    A China Skep or "Old Beehive"
The typical Bee "nest" was housed for years in a straw Skep - conical shaped house to keep the Bees warm & dry.

These were made out of China clay and sold as a Tourist nick nack to buy & take home as a momento of visiting a Bee Farm.

This was produced to impress the general public about the importance of the Bee. February U3A Meeting
    A large Bee at The Eden Project in Cornwall
Stuart told a number of interesting stories relating to Wax which is produced by the Bee in its Hive.

Years ago candles were made out of it (before Parafin Wax) as well as Sealing Wax.

Artists still use the "Lost Wax" method of casting in a Foundary.   When the hot metal is poured into the casting the Wax runs out & is replaced by the metal.   Problem is that it is a "one for one" process.

Polishes for old furniture is made out of Bees Wax - smells lovely.

All the models at Madam Tussauds are made from Bees Wax so must never be warmed above 63 degrees C or they melt!

February U3A Meeting
February U3A Meeting
   Modern Medicine
February U3A Meeting
   Odour Recognition,
Bees are trained to identify an odour (gunpowder, drugs) using their very sensitive antenna.
After working for up to 6 days the Bee is returned to its hive.
February U3A Meeting
    The Plaque

This was a plaque positioned on a wall somewhere but the writer has forgotten the story behind it - Can someone remind him, please.


February U3A Meeting
A Swam held by Stuart

The hive contains typically 50,000 Worker Bees, 5 Drones (Male Bees) and one Queen.

If another young Queen is breed and the climatic conditions are condusive, the young Queen may well say to a few thousand workers "Come with me & we will set up a new & better home".

This produces the Swarm.

February U3A Meeting
    The final slide
A Limerick for a Bee - Nothing like "Home Sweet Home".

Thank you Stuart for an interesting afternoon with Bees.

Christmas Meeting - Entertainment with records by Ray Spiller.

On one of the coldest and snowiest days of the year the hall was filled with U3A Members eager to get out of their houses and to enjoy the Christmas Meeting.

Hot mulled wine and non-alcoholic wine was first served up with hot minced pies and fancy cakes.

Wickham Bishops Village Hall
Social Secretary Dorathy serving the Mulled Wine

Wickham Bishops Village Hall Wickham Bishops Village Hall
Further down the table with wine and fancy cakes.

After a social mix and the Members were again seated, Chairman Alan introduced Ray Spiller.

Wickham Bishops Village Hall Wickham Bishops Village Hall
Ray seated at his control desk and close-up of him with his pile of 45rpm records to play.

After introducing himself Ray said that as it was Christmas he would play a selection of records which were the Number One in the Record Charts years ago.

He started with 1936 which was before the Charts were formed but everyone was doing it - the Charleston.

This was followed with George Formby, Glen Miller, Elvis Prestley, Cliff Richard, Slade, Johnny Ray, Whinifred Atwell, Beatles, etc.
These were interspersed with whitty comments and jokes.

Coming up to date he stopped on "YMCA" and had the whole audience thrusting their arms in the air "doing the motions".

Wickham Bishops Village Hall Wickham Bishops Village Hall
Audience demurly seated and then "doing the YMCA".

A jolly good afternoon was had by all - thank you Ray and we hope you got to Luton that evening.

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Last revised 31st October 2010 to add the Christmas Meeting.