Skogar Folk Museum visit

Posted by Chris Graham on 18th April 2021

Mal Jordan reports on a very enjoyable visit to the Skogar Folk Museum in Iceland, where he discovered some unusual and interesting exhibits.

Skogar Folk Museum

Skogar Folk Museum: This Priestman Wolf Excavator was built in Hull, in 1947. (Pic: Mal Jordan)

East Yorkshire-based enthusiast Mal Jordan visited the Skogar Folk Museum in South Iceland – some 150km from the capital, Reykjavik – and was pleasantly surprised to find vintage vehicles on display there. He’d previously read about a Kemna motor roller in the museum, but was unaware of the other vintage exhibits. The roller – No. 2081, dating from the 1920s – was apparently once named Hitler!

Alongside the roller he also found a small, 1947 Priestman Wolf Excavator. Priestman Brothers Ltd, founded in 1870, was an engineering company based in Kingston-upon-Hull, that specialised in grab dredgers as well as other industrial machinery for use in water, plus cranes and grab excavators for use on land. From the 1920s, ‘universal’ excavators were marketed and named after animals; Cub followed by Caribou, Panther and Wolf.

Skogar Folk Museum

A Dodge Weapons Carrier that was built in 1942; an ideal vehicle for Iceland’s rugged terrain! (Pic: Mal Jordan)

The company was originally at the Holderness Foundry on Williamson Street, in Hull, but a larger site was developed at Marfleet, outside the city, in 1950. The company exported its products all over the world, and subsidiary companies were set up in Australia, USA, Canada and Sweden. However, the business was eventually sold-off in 1984.

Also on show at the museum was a Land Rover; a type of vehicle found all over the world, and in many different guises. This example was a Series IIA, built in 1968 with a 70hp petrol engine. It was obtained from Denmark in 1971, by the Fire Department of the county of Rangárvallasýsla.

A 1968 Land Rover IIA, procured for the Icelandic Fire Department in 1971. (Pic: Mal Jordan)

Other vehicles on display included a 1942 Dodge Weapons Carrier (WC) and a 1927 Ford ‘Model T’ – a Tin Lizzy. Apparently, this type was the most commonly-found vehicle in Iceland at that time. Unsurprisingly, it was the first car to cross the interior highlands in Iceland, in 1933.

The museum contains about 18,000 artefacts, and the technical section includes exhibits and information charting the history and evolution of transport, communications and other Icdelandic technologies, and is highly recommended.

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