NWU Vaal Triangle Campus immortalised in Guinness Book of Records
VANDERBIJLPARK – The Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU) is renowned for its academic excellence, a scenic campus and an active involvement in the community, and one of these days also for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.
During the 2007 Wheels@Vaal event a successful attempt was made to set a new world record for the biggest number of stationary engines to run simultaneously for a specified time period. A total of 205 engines ran continuously for five minutes. Stationary engines date back to the early 1900s and were initially used by farmers to pump water and to generate electricity, as well as in factories in the manufacturing process. Many of these engines worked with steam and fuel was introduced only in later years. According to Mr Mauritz Meyer, organiser of Wheels@Vaal, these engines are a source of great pride to the collectors and enthusiasts alike and many hours are spent restoring these engines to their former glory.
Stationary engines enjoy a big following in Britain and America. One of the well-known brand names for stationary engines, Lister, manufactured these engines in Vereeniging at the turn of the century. Today, Lister SA mainly imports generators and distributes them locally. Lister SA was the main sponsor of this record attempt.
According to Mr Meyer the participants in the world record attempt came from as far as Carolina, Bela-Bela, Kroonstad, Stilfontein and Johannesburg. In order for the record to be acknowledged as a world record the attempt had to be registered with the Guinness Book of Records. Since no formal attempt was registered by Britain, the South African collectors took a leap of faith and the result is their inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records for 2009.
The rules adhered to included that all stationary engines be in a working condition and that they should, collectively, run simultaneously for five consecutive minutes. Two adjudicators as well as a notary made sure that the rules were adhered to. A siren indicated the start as well as the end of the record attempt. On the first day a total of 184 engines participated, whilst the record was set on the second day with 205 engines running simultaneously.
The Vaal Old Wheels Motor Club, the organisers of the record attempt, boasts more than 250 members and all participate in the very successful Wheels@Vaal show every year. This motor show is the biggest in central South Africa and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
The exhibition of vintage cars is a big attraction at the annual Wheels@Vaal motor show, with exhibitors and motor enthusiasts from across the country attending.
Mauritz Meyer (left) and Alan Heyns, chairman of the Vaal Old Wheels Club, with the official certificate stating the world record.
The official Guinness World Record certificate.
Present during the certificate ceremony were, from left: Willie Boshoff (Lister SA), Neville Botha (organiser of the stationary engines) and Awie van Wyk (adjudicator).
An example of a stationary engine