”Saving to preserve”
The collection started with Ruben Blom's lifelong interest in history, mechanics and fine workmanship, combined with an unusual deep feeling for all this work and the value it stands for. As a child he came into contact with different mechanical things by living close to the local scrap merchant, who's daily work, using his bicycle, consisted of collecting scrap and other saleable items . These were mainly small and easy to handle objects, but sometimes he got hold of a steam engine or hot bulb engine.
Already as a 4-5 year old boy Ruben Blom saw the aesthetical beauty of the rivet rows on the steam boiler, as well as the curved spokes of the engine's flywheel. All of this became of vital importance for the vision of a collection which was now starting to take shape inside him. Add that to the fact that these engines represented, like no other, a degree of strength and quality noticeable to a 5 year old boy. To him it made no sense that these engines were demolished and scrapped. Ruben decided for himself that he should get himself a steam engine of his own, an engine no one was allowed to demolish!
In the following years Ruben Blom built some model steam engines, but the real full-size engine was not in sight then. Not until both his sons grew up during the 1960s, when toy steam engines became popular, Ruben found it was time to seek what his inner self reminded him about all the time: to get himself this steam engine. It had to happen now before it was too late. He bought his first steam engine from a derelict sawmill, soon to be followed by another one and a third one. Within a short time he had three portable steam engines, all three different from each other, to be followed by some hot bulb engines and some smaller stationary steam engines. Still not realising what he had started he found more engines to take care of - always thinking this one would be the last.
Towards the end of the 1960's Ruben Blom got the opportunity to buy his childhood home and he relocated to the south of Götene. He was now situated along the main European road, which was to play a major role for the collection. At this time there still were only a handful of engines as mentioned earlier, but during the coming 20 year period it developed into Rubens Maskinhistoriska Samlingar. The earnings of the Blom Family came (and still come) from their own mechanical workshop (today developed into Götene Projekt & Konstruktion AB, ProKon), where they mainly develop hi-tech production elements for the local industry.
In his leisure time Ruben Blom was always looking around to find engines in larger and larger circles, finally covering the entire country. The knowledge of what once had been around in the area revived a spark of hope to find some of the most interesting engines. Some quick "rescue" trips saving engines from being scrapped broadened the interest and the collection. This resulted in more engines that were taken care of while at the same time the need for other actions grew.
The collection expanded and all available space inside was eventually filled, and slowly even the yard was filling up. Ruben was now trying to fill up the gaps in his collection and his purposefulness grew more every day.
The characteristic of his effort was the simplicity of his equipment, which was composed of simple hand tools, jacks and some pallet wood. With these small resources the result after 40 years is even more surprising and probably unique in all Scandinavia.
† Ruben Blom passed away.
On February 15 2005 the collector and enthusiast Ruben Blom died peacefully in his home after a long time of illness, at the age of 79.
Rubens Maskinhistoriska Samlingar
+46 511-505 35