Historical information

This burgundy coloured, portable electric belt sander is stored in its own heavy duty cardboard box. It was made in England and, according to the label on the lid of the box, it is a Portrix Sander-Polisher, all-electric, portable, sands wood metal and polishes. Its uses include decorating, carpentry and polishing. It has a complete with electric unit with flex. The price of 75/- (75 shillings) is printed on the label of the box.

The model and the brand of the sander have been removed from the manufacturer’s information embossed on the side of the sander.

The sander is part of a collection of objects used by Jim Williams, maker of fine ship models from about 1930-1955. Most of the components for the models, as well as many of the tools, were handmade by Jim Williams. Jim’s family has donated the ship model “Sovereign of the Seas” and many tools, accessories and documents used in the making of this and other ship models have been donated to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village.

Please see our record 3732 of the mode Sovereign of the Seas for further details of the ship and the maker.


This vintage Portrix sander-polisher represents tools used for the hobby and skill of ship model making that has been carried as a leisure activity out for generations. Ship model making was also a pastime for sailing crew, who often made a model of the ship in which they were sailing.

This sander was used by local Warrnambool man, Jim Williams, who was employed at Cramond and Dickson clothing store, and then at Fletcher Jones menswear for 27 years. It was used in making components for the model of the historic ship, the Sovereign of the Seas.

The Sovereign of the Seas was a historic 17th century English war ship with important maritime heritage.

Physical description

Belt sander, electric. Portable power tool, Portrix model Sander–Polisher, burgundy coloured body with swivelling, black electric cable, 250V 1 / 4 amp. For sanding wood and metal, and for polishing. (Stored in original box.) Made in England. Part of a collection of tools and accessories used by Mr. Jim Williams to build ship model of the “Sovereign of the Sea” and other models. c. 1930-1955.

Inscriptions & markings

Moulded into body “ - - - SANDER –POLISHER / 1 / 4 amp. PRODUCT OF - - - MANUFACTURING CO. LTD. 50 CYCLES / MADE IN ENGLAND PAT. PEND. 200/250 volts A.C.” (the Brand and Manufacturer’s name have been removed)