Source: DiaryWhen did you return to Mercury?
Twenty years ago, when we watched the construction on Proseč from the window. The grandson was so captivated by the cranes that we had to go get him. We built a large wooden crane together, which ended up in a kindergarten here in Jablonec. Then we bought him a Mercury and started building together. Cranes, toy cars with flashlights, cable car. We built something, played with it for a while, then took it apart and built something new, like more cars, a rocket. But the cranes, they were the main ones.
As it happens, grandchildren grow up. What was next?
My granddaughter took over the baton and I created even more with her than with my grandson. She could sit and screw for three hours. She was most happy with the trolleybus, it worked. Well, now I’m on my own.
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Where do you get your inspiration from?
I go to the Merkur Kit Museum in Polici nad Metují. In the ten years since I was first there, the museum has grown incredibly. The entire Steel City is in one room, the main attractions include a model of Villa Tugendhat, Karlštejn, and the Eiffel Tower. They also have a large game room where there are two measuring tapes of parts on the tables. But the impulse must come from the museum, that’s the easiest way.
But you don’t just create from Mercury, do you?
I also moved a model of a factory with a steam engine to the museum. I made the transmission there and fitted it with an electric motor at the back.
What are you working on now?
I’ve had a big mining excavator in pieces for several years now, it’s slowly gathering dust. But there will be long winter evenings again, so I’ll start it again.
They want to build a large social center from the old factory in Smržovka
How did you get to work with the Museum of Toys, which is run by Jiří Vavřín?
Eight years ago, I went to the then brand new toy museum with my granddaughter. I kind of complained to the owner that it’s nice that he has the Merkur kits, but why isn’t something built from them. Today, I blame myself a little bit for nodding to Mr. Vavřín and building the first things for him (laughs).
What did you make for the museum?
I was the first to build a battery bulldozer. Then a hand-operated working factory with a lathe, hammer, scissors and other tools. And he brought me more and more parts and let me build. Since then, he won’t give me a break (laughs). Last year, he suddenly brought me 40 kilograms of parts that he bought online for a fortune. Over the winter, I built a lookout tower with a lift almost two meters high. For example, the Ferris wheel weighs 8 kilograms, it required 620 screws, 400 parts. Praga V3S, I did that based on photos from an exhibition. That’s probably my best work, especially the front mask took me a long time, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. It weighs about seven kilograms, unfortunately I don’t know how many parts were needed here, but a lot. The tallest is probably the model of the Kojál transmitter.
How do you find more and more parts? Don’t say you buy everything new?
Children don’t enjoy Mercury much anymore, it’s hard work after all. He would rather build a different kit, a lighter one. A few years ago, in one of the kindergartens in Jablonec, where my daughter happens to work, Merkurs were eliminated. They ended up at my house. I collected a lot of parts from people. For example, I’ll ask the gentleman working in the garage if he has anything from Mercury. Do you know how many parts I got that way? I will also shop at Polici. But Merkur is sold in such sets, for example wheels of several types of four. But I need twenty of them at once, so I’m not going to buy the whole sets because of that. There used to be a freely accessible scrap yard in the factory where you could find a lot of usable parts, unfortunately it is no longer accessible.