Made in Sheffield: From skeletal hands to the world's fastest sled, nine of the best steel city inventions

By Ben Miller | 03 September 2016 | Updated: 02 September 2016

Evoking the Crystal Palace exhibitions which once showcased British ingenuity, curators have turned the Millennium Gallery into a hall of Sheffield's greatest designs


Prosthetic eyes, nose and ear

A photo of a prosthetic eyes, nose and ear at sheffield museums
© Museums Sheffield
These medical prosthetics were 3D printed. This innovative solution to the problem of making soft tissue prostheses was developed by Fripp Design and Research and the University of Sheffield with support from the Wellcome Trust.


The GEM Rolls-Royce engine

A photo of a boeing aircraft engine at sheffield museums
© Museums Sheffield
This one flies on Boeing aircraft. In 2001 the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre was established by the University of Sheffield and the aerospace company Boeing. The Rolls-Royce Factory of the Future opened there in 2008.


A skeletal hand made from ReproBone

A photo of a prosthetic hand at sheffield museums
© Museums Sheffield
An implantable synthetic bone graft. It acts as an ideal scaffold to support and promote bone repair before it eventually dissolves in the body. Made by Sheff-based Ceramisys.


A handmade bike

A photo of a bicycle at sheffield museums
© Museums Sheffield
Field Cycles is a collaboration between a group of friends who are craftspeople, designers and engineers. Their shared passion treats the fabrication of a bicycle as an exploration of craft, aesthetics and function – an antidote to mass-produced manufacturing in steel.


A Dead Hanging Rung

A photo of a climbing rung at sheffield museums
© Museums Sheffield
These are used to help rock climbers train and strengthen their fingers. The founder of Moon Climber, Ben Moon, was a professional climber who scaled with some of the world’s best.


The World’s Fastest Sled

A photo of a sled at sheffield museums
© Museums Sheffield
This is the sled that English motorcycle racer and all-round thrill-hound Guy Martin used to break the world speed record for the fastest gravity powered sled. It was designed by the Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University.


Ragg Tuning Forks

A photo of various tools at sheffield museums
© Museums Sheffield
These have been made in Sheffield since 1841. The set here help tune pianos, whilst the smaller tuning forks are used to calibrate speed cameras in Britain, America and Australia. The larger single forks help doctors determine hearing capability and track changes in diabetic neuropathy.


An artificial hip joint

A photo of a prosthetic limb at sheffield museums
© Museums Sheffield
This shows how it would sit in the body. JRI Orthopaedics Ltd was the first company in the world to develop an innovative ceramic coating on hip replacements – to the benefit of more than 250,000 patients.


Surgical implements

A photo of various tools at sheffield museums
© Museums Sheffield
Sheffield Precision Medical is the leading British provider of orthopaedic instruments used in hip, knee, shoulder, foot and ankle replacement.

  • Made in Sheffield is at the Millennium Gallery until January 8 2017. Admission free.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Three places to see in Sheffield

Kelham Island Museum
The new Millowners Arms gallery, complete with a traditional bar, celebrates Sheffield’s Brewing heritage, from being the biggest brewing city in the England to its numerous microbreweries of today.


Joe Scarborough’s ambitious city panorama chronicles some of Sheffield’s iconic landmarks throughout the decades. Spanning an incredible 30 feet, the work took six years to complete and celebrates many familiar city sites, from the Tinsley Towers to the Town Hall.

S1 Artspace
A gallery space that presents an international programme of contemporary visual art exhibitions, screenings and events. S1 Artspace provides studio spaces for more than 20 contemporary artists and hosts artists' residencies.
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