Reclaimed from the Railways

Timothy Oulton Press

March 3, 2015

Eco Design

The story of the Timothy Oulton 4 Beam coffee table began in the 1800s, with a Dutch Baron on the island of Java; once the core of the Dutch East Indies.

After a brief colonisation by the British Empire, Java was handed to the Dutch in 1814. Fifty years later a certain Governor-General Baron Sloet van Beele proposed the first railway line in Java and soon lines were connecting towns all over the country.

In 1881, the first of Java’s 15 light railways was built to transport goods from the plantations, including sugar, coffee, rice and tobacco. Due to its micro-climates, Indonesia’s rice-lands are among the richest on the planet and it’s the world’s fourth largest coffee producer. The railways became Java’s bloodline, transporting goods across the island as well as to the harbour for exportation.

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The railways thrived for decades but by the mid-1970s, the steam trains were being retired and the unused railways became abandoned and overgrown.  Several ‘last’ steam locomotives were built for Indonesia including the Trangkil 4; the last steam train ever built in Britain, by Hunslet Engineering.

The Timothy Oulton 4 Beam coffee table celebrates this rich history of Indonesia’s railways. Each beam was once part of these abandoned transport lines, reclaimed and rescued. We have carefully preserved the wood, encasing it in clear acrylic to allow every detail of these worn sleepers to be cherished. Each beam is de-nailed by hand and then scrubbed clean to reveal the knots and marks which retain the character of the wood.

A piece of world history; reclaimed, preserved and given a new life.

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Railway Map of Java

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Making of

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Photo Gallery:Reclaimed from the Railways