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According to the plaque on its 2ft square, plinth-like base, this copper-domed, blade turbine chimney vent was the work of ‘Ewart & Son Ltd. Ventilation Engineers 346-350 Euston Road, London’, and it spoke of a distant past when Britain led the world in manufacture and engineering.

The paddle-steamer thickness of the blades, the slope and cant of the base, the non-cost effective use of non-rust material – and all for a mere factory appurtenance. They sure don’t make them like that any more – a fact appreciated by collectors at the West Sussex salerooms of Rupert Toovey and Co on April 26-27, where this statuesque exhaust unit was offered with expectations of £100-200.

Now, before you all go searching junk yards for such industrial cast-offs, it must be said that these vents have a rather limited appeal, and this model only just got away at £120 (plus 15 per cent premium). “I have seen a few come up before but this was the first one that sold,” said valuer Chris Gale, “but I suppose they would make unusual garden ornaments.” The Antiques Trade Gazette reckons they could make good bases for copper weathervanes.