Japanese Honda engineer leaves family holiday for one-off Anson Engine Museum opening

By Culture24 Reporter | 14 August 2012
A photo of a sign greeting a special guest into a museum on a video screen
The Anson Engine Museum welcomed a Honda expert© Anson Engine Museum
A leading engineer from the Saitama plant of manufacturing giant Honda persuaded staff at the Anson Engine Museum to unlock their doors for a rare midweek opening linking centuries of Euro-Japanese engineering expertise.

Sei Watanabe left his family to shop and sightsee in London while he caught a train to Cheshire, intent on seeing the only Atkinson-cycle engine in the world – the original version of the EXlink cycle engine which went into mass production in Japan and Germany last year.

The Anson usually only opens on weekends and Bank Holidays, but curators let Watanabe enjoy an audience with the 129-year-old engine after he emailed them asking if he could see it during his five-day holiday in Britain.

“We are honoured Watanabe-san wanted to come and visit us during his brief visit to the UK,” says Geoff Challinor, the curator of the museum, who collected Watanabe from Macclesfield station and escorted him to the Anson Road building.

“It will be terrific to hear how this old technology has inspired the new systems being developed today.

"It is a little ironic that someone will travel across the globe to see an engine, yet some people who live in the area around the engine have still not been to see us and the amazing collection we have put together.”

Mr Watanabe is said to have been “extremely grateful”, examining the engine which the EXlink’s modern micro gas co-generation mechanism is based on.

His visit is the second pilgrimage made by a Honda expert to the museum: Yonekazu Uetshuji, who started the research programme on the EXlink, has also gained inspiration from the unparalleled hall of engineering.

The Anson collection charts the history of engines through more than 200 sterling examples, including a steam section and a giant mill engine.

A self-funded venue, it opened to the public in 1989 and is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the Internal Combustion Engine, particularly those built in the Manchester area.

More pictures:

A photo of a man in a suit looking at an ancient engine with an expert inside a museum
The modern EXlink, a micro gas co-generation engine with a "very unique" linkage system, is based on the Atkinson-cycle© Anson Engine Museum

A photo of a man in a suit looking at an ancient engine with an expert inside a museum
Based in Higher Poynton, the museum's collection mainly consists of gas and oil engines© Anson Engine Museum
A photo of a man in a suit looking at an ancient engine with an expert inside a museum
The volunteer-run venue has become a favourite with engineering devotees and casual visitors© Anson Engine Museum
A photo of a man in a suit looking at an ancient engine with an expert inside a museum
Watanabe was visiting from Senzui, Asaka-shi, in the Saitama region of Japan© Anson Engine Museum

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