Saturday, November 6, 2010

Prancing horse

At first glance it seemed to be a racecar gone off the tracks. The prancing horse logo is so much a part of the famous Ferrari brand that it takes a couple of moments before we can adjust to its presence on the polar opposite of a racecar - and one that has obviously not moved an inch for quite a few years, now. But the 'rampant horse' has been a symbol of many things - products, places, maybe even people - through the ages. It was obvious this one had no connection with fast cars.

In fact, this logo appears to pre-date Enzo Ferrari's firm by a few decades. It was in 1865 that Thomas Aveling and Richard Porter built the first steam engine of their partnership. Having set up the business in Rochester, Kent, Aveling & Porter borrowed both the logo and the motto of that county for themselves. The word "Invicta" (undefeated) was placed under Kent's 'White Horse rampant' to make up the logo of Aveling & Porter, one that had remained more or less unchanged through a few changes in the company's ownership.

Although this one cannot claim any great antiquity, it is still somehow fitting that it lies abandoned in the middle of railway territory. It is believed that Aveling & Porter supplied quite a few of the steam rollers required to clear terrain before rails could be laid. And this machine, standing on Constable Road, Perambur seems to be in sympathy with the buildings of Aveling & Porter, the last of which was brought down earlier this year!

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