Dematerialisation Lever - Clues to identification

Started by kiwidoc, Jan 29, 2013, 09:30 pm

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Jan 29, 2013, 09:30 pm Last Edit: Jan 29, 2013, 09:33 pm by kiwidoc
It's clearly a found item - it's undoubtedly a piece of industrial or scientific equipment (I was once told that console dressing for this version was mostly made of lab hardware so I'm thinking science for most unidentified parts).

The dial on the front is a gauge of measurements in "bar."    In science this is the unit of measure for air pressure/atmospheric pressure.   My theory is that this is the power control for a barometric / hyperbaric chamber.   You might have an impression of decompression chambers for divers, but they're also built on a smaller scale for testing the effects of atmospheric pressure on things.

The unit has some raised lettering on it, I think that I can make out
under the knobs on top.  I think that those are probably a button and an indicator light next to it though I can't find any images to back this up.

On the right hand edge where the level moves, there are more words - I can make out
"HALT" at the bottom and something that looks like
"VEEL" or VEER at the top - but what would that mean?

I've googled pressure chambers and laboratory parts until I'm sick of it and have seen nothing close so i think it's just a random piece of gear from a long deceased piece of equipment that no-one on the internet has yet decided to make a page about (surprise surprise...) so it's not findable unless you know someone with that sort of background or chance across it by accident.    Prove me wrong though!

Any other thoughts on this unit folks?



Its a Boat lever pretty sure? Also got from Bobs Bits and actually used on a couple space ships in the show! I did ALOT of hunting for this piece and could never find it :(


Jan 30, 2013, 12:11 am #2 Last Edit: Jan 30, 2013, 02:49 am by kiwidoc
It's certainly very similar to a boat control lever and the idea has probably continued because it was labelled as such in the Doctor Who blurb on the "bob's bits" website but I don't think it's right.  The gauge on front is interesting - they surely haven't changed it for anything customised so I think that gauge is our biggest clue to origin.

I wasn't aware of one of these showing up in any other episodes as controls or set dressing - can you remember where that would have been?


Jan 30, 2013, 12:40 am #3 Last Edit: Jan 30, 2013, 12:49 am by timewomble
As the gauge is labelled "bar", I'd guess it's from an air compressor or an electric pressure test pump.


Funny- I too noticed the 'BAR' label and thought air pressure might mean an aeroplane control.

I will do some digging and see what I can come up with


"I could retire and be the curator of this place,"  the 11th doctor or maybe the 12th?


Jan 30, 2013, 06:26 am #5 Last Edit: Jan 30, 2013, 06:27 am by galacticprobe
I've got to admit I'm at a loss with this one as well. At first (meaning from about 2005 until a few minutes ago ;)) I thought it was a boat throttle, but that "bar" does throw me for a loop. I was starting to think that between the "bar" and "Veer/Veel" that it may have been a boat throttle from a non-English maker (like the Demat lever on the 2010 console), but then it has "POWER ON" in plain English. ???

There is definitely the word "POWER" above the "POWER ON" button, but it's that word before it that I can't make out. I'm going to give a copy of that photo to my son who has some serious image processing software to see if he can clean it up enough to make out what that word is. It may shed a little more light on this gizmo.

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Jan 30, 2013, 07:37 am #6 Last Edit: Jan 30, 2013, 07:40 am by kiwidoc
Yes, I thought that the VEE? and HALT might indicate something in German or something related (Dutch comes up a lot in Google searches thanks to the VEE part) but as you say, the english use for POWER goes against that.

I'm pretty convinced that the top says STANDBY POWER - the POWER is reasonably clear but I haven't found a clear picture of the whole thing.   My best reference is probably the picture below which I took at Olympia two years ago when  had a fleeting visit.  It's weird really - despite ogling that console and spending ages looking at it I can hard;y remember one useful detail now.  I took lots of pictures but few of them turned out very well and I've found much better by looking up other people's on Flickr.

I'm thinking that VEEL or VEEK might mean something to those working in the field this equipment relates to but my searching so far hasn't revealed anything useful, just lots of listings of Dutch scientists...

Here's the picture I took, cropped to the salient parts:



I'm now googling air pressure gauges, which is more interesting than you'd think...   It seems that the bar gauge is definitely air pressure but that scale (up to 40 bar) is odd - it's way too high for car tires (40 bar would be like 500 PSI) but it's too low for dive tanks which seem to pressurise air to something like 400 bar (I could be wrong, it's a quick interpretation).

So my initial theory of a chamber testing atmospheric pressure still holds water but I've not seen a single scrap of evidence yet.    It's interesting to note the design of the unit too - it's designed to sit on something (the "thing" doing the pressure work) and going by the angled placement of the gauge I'd say that the operator stands in front of it with a hand on the lever, probably quite similar to how it's placed on the console.

I wonder what else uses air pressure.

One other note - the word "VEER" might be another possibility for the top letters - and to VEER in steering and with particular regard to aircraft means to angle off toward somewhere else.   Could there be any application to an angle of air pressure or testing of air pressures on aerodynamics eg veer and halt in the air flow?        Hmm, Sherlock also said it was foolish to theorise with too little information but then again he was often a bit of a hypocrite...   :)


It showed up in two episodes; Age of Steel in the Zepplin and The End of Time aboard the alien spaceship.

Age of Steel:



It looks like it goes up to 30 bar, not 40. I don't know how much of a difference that makes. Apart from 10 bar, of course.


Jan 30, 2013, 05:37 pm #10 Last Edit: Jan 30, 2013, 05:39 pm by timewomble
The more I look at this, the more I think it's a pressure testing pump. You can find ones for 30 bar fairly easily on Google. I just haven't found one that looks like this.

Many of them seem to have the same basic controls, i.e. gauge, power button, huge lever, on a rectangular unit.


Jan 30, 2013, 09:37 pm #11 Last Edit: Jan 30, 2013, 09:40 pm by kiwidoc
Wow, nicely spotted Primrodo!   Have taken a few screencaps from both - I certainly would never have noticed it used there.    Definitely a different unit (no surprise) but confirms that it's not mega rare since Bobs Bits presumably sold them both props, in good condition and it wasn't a one-off super-rare or expensive piece if they can keep one kicking around in prop storage (or returned then re-rented from a prop house?) for 2-3 years between Age of Steel and End of Time.



Yeah, Bob's Bits told me that there were 2 and they took both. What I particularly like about seeing it in those episodes, though, is how it looks unmodified and no paint etc. I want one of these myself! Been researching the parts for awhile :P

When I saw it pop up I was like WAH!


I had another crack at googling this, considering the "VEE?" and the gauge labelled "bar".

There's a company called "Veer Fabricators", who specialise in Air Compressors.

No pictures, sadly, but as somebody pointed out before it looks like a fairly old product.

I suppose we could send them a picture (the one from the Cybus Airship, probably) and ask them if it's one of theirs. Or would that be a tad eccentric?


Feb 05, 2013, 04:30 am #14 Last Edit: Feb 05, 2013, 04:31 am by galacticprobe
It might not hurt to ask them. The worst they could do is say 'no, it's not one of ours'. And if it is one of theirs, they might have a few in surplus lying about that they might like to sell off (hopefully not at mortgage-your-house prices). Slim change, I know, but if no one asks we'll never know. If it is theirs and they don't have any lying about, maybe they'd have the spec sheet for it which would show what the markings on it were.

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"