In 1889 this magnificent working model of jetworkers was made by George Wood. A penny placed in the slot set the wheels spinning and the foreman's head would turn periodically as if to keep an eye on his employees. They wore clothes cleverly fashioned from real fabric, and it is said that their faces were caricatures of actual Whitby jetworkers.
The heads were carved from clay pipes and all wear hats as was the custom of the day. There are eight figures, each performing a different task involved in the preparation of jet jewellery.
Each worker has a caption detailing the nature of his job. The foreman is Chopping Out the raw jet, then the rest of the team are labelled as Turning, Brushing, Rougeing (which involved using red iron oxide), Polishing, Milling and Grinding.
When first completed the model was displayed in the window of the Whitby Gazette office in Bridge Street. An advertisement of August 1909 reads 'Visitors wishing to see the various stages in the manufacture of jet ornaments should see the large automatic penny-in-the-slot model outside the premises of J. H. Hodgman, 151, Church Street.'
Later it was moved to the shop of Elisha Walker at 97, Church Street, which is situated at the bottom of Blackburn's Yard. In her book Whitby Jet Through The Years, Mabel McMillan, recalls as a child fetching the key from the shop on a Saturday morning and unlocking the door in the machine, removing the cocoa tin in which the pennies were collected and carefully counting the week's takings.
George Wood's superb model is now on display at Whitby Museum in Pannett Park.