Here, for your delight and edification, is a selection of my Bowman ephemera.

This one's a favourite: The Bowman Chemistry Set. I found it on ebay recently, paid £30 fo it. It has been used (also something I always like, I'm not interested in unused toys), but the vast majority of the original components remain. It is housed in a very nicely made large wooden box, and the original price tag (21/-) remains.

Particularly nice is the inside label, perfectly preserved after 80 years.....does that young lad dream of one day becoming that rather fearsome-looking Oxford Don? Was the dream chemically induced???

I love the catalogues and trade literature of that time, and I have a particular soft spot for the Hobbies Handbooks. Hobbies and Bowman, both based in Dereham, Norfolk, had a well-documented close trading relationship. Here are three period handbooks - I have several, mainly thanks to Colin Laker who kindly passed them on to me - Colin is the author of the definitive books on everything Bowman.

In these handbooks you'll find wonderful pages like these adverts for Bowman boats - I don't think the Seahawk was ever made in that particular version.....

...and the Hobbies Lion, to all intents and purposes a Bowman 101 in kit form.

Some years ago, I bought a boxed M135 the bottom of the box was a bunch of crumpled and wadded paper, which on closer inspection turned out to be an original 1928 Bowman catalogue. I straightened it out and dried it out carefully. The staples are long gone, but the individual pages are in good condition. I keep them stored in poly pockets - the full catalogue, along with other printed bits, can be seen at , but here are a couple of pages:

This is a smaller catalogue, more a flyer really, that used to be given away in toy shops:

This I think is lovely, and not many survive - the label that was attached to all new engines, explaining that a new engine might prime and spit a bit, but that this will improve with frequent running.

Equally charming are the engine instructions (stationary on the left, locos on the right). I'm always particularly touched by the last paragraph of the stationary engine instructions, which reads: "The life of a well-cared-for Bowman engine is extraordinarily long and we have known some engines 3 and 4 years old still doing Trojan work"
Well, dear Mr Jenkins, I have the full lineup of your engines (apart from the M130), they are all at least 80 years old, and they are all running as well as the day they were made. Hats off to your design skills!

Bowman advertised in a lot of contemporary magazines, such as Meccano Magazine, Boys' Own, the Scouting News, etc etc. Unfortunately unscrupulous sellers often cut out the adverts and sell them individually on eBay - to me this is desecration, I would much rather see them in situ. Can't help buying them though - I display these with my engines.

The following items aren't strictly ephemera, but they're so rarely seen that I thought I'd show them off here:

This is a "Hipower" water motor! It's a remarkably effective little turbine. The patented gripping mechanism uses the rather vicious expanding claw to pull the motor flush against a domestic tap, and the motor develops a surprising amount of fact, it was powerful enough to drive another one of GBJ's inventions, the "Kavor" mechanical toothbrush, an example of which is displayed in the Science Museum.

Here it is running, powering one of my workshops:

Something different - this is a little marine engine made by Bowman, and sold by Hobbies for home boat builders:

Bowman sold a number of dynamos - I have the well-known metal based one (actually a Doll unit), and this one, which is a little rarer because of the Bakelite base, which is easily damaged. Note the hot-stamped Bowman logo. It works very well. A version of this dynamo with an upright magnet was used in the M130, the most elusive of Bowman engines....a strange mishmash of a 135 boiler, 158 motion minus gearwheel, and the dynamo.

This nearly concludes our tour of my little collection, but it would be wrong to leave and not mention Bowman of Luton. This was a postwar toy company, run by a P.M.Nash, originally the firm "Piece Parts and Assemblies". They made a number of very fine engines, most notably the "BM Valveless", perhaps the most intriguing toy engine ever made, and I am proud to say I own one....they also made some very fine boats, confusingly named "Swallow" "Snipe" "Seahawk" etc - there is NO connection to Bowman of Dereham, although they obviously built on their glory (Bowman of Dereham having long since ceased trading).

Here are the carbon-typed instructions for their stationary engines - thank you Mirko!!!!

....and an invitation to join a "club".....whether this ever got off the ground the story doesn't tell.