50 Great British Inventions

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A special 24-page ( magazine inspired by the BBC2 season genius of invention RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 00MICHAEL MOSLEY 3 Lawnmower INvENTED 1827 INvENTOR EdwIn BEArd BuddIng A nation founded What could be more quintessentially British than a perfectly mown lawn in summer? Until inventor Edwin Beard Budding came up with the lawnmower in 1827, this was the preserve only of the very rich, on invention who could afford an army of people to cut their lawns with scythes. Budding already had a Sir James Dyson once work in the way Google’s founders have done. reputation for inventiveness: he devised a repeating told me that he believed Richard Trevithick — the inventor of my choice pistol that predated Samuel Colt’s, a cotton carding part of the reason the in this supplement (see page 7) — is a great machine of a design that is still used today, and British are so good at example of a man who doesn’t get the the r fi st screw-adjusted spanner. DID YOU KNOW? inventing things is recognition he deserves because he failed His first mower was 19in wide, had a box that Berners-lee’s because we are an island race. I’m not so to commercialise his invention. collected the clippings as they were thrown parents were sure I can point to any one particular British Both involved forward by the blades and allowed the user ttitudes are changing, and I have in the characteristic that has encouraged such a to adjust the height of the cut. It was, at absolutely no doubt that our economic developMent great inventing tradition, but our geography of one of the r fi st, still a fairly exclusive item: Oxford future lies in tapping into British earliest certainly has helped. It created its own Ainventiveness. Programmes such colleges and the Royal Zoological Society CoMputers, the pressures, separated us intellectually as well ferranti Mark 1, as Dragons’ Den and figures like Steve Jobs were among his r fi st customers. But its unveiled in 1951. as physically from the rest of Europe. It made and James Dyson have certainly inspired popularity spread as more British homes our relatively afu fl ent, well-educated nation my children. They want to make things, but came to have gardens. And because turn to science at a time when the rest of the they also want to sell things. They want to it made lawns more affordable, world did not. It gave us a head start. be entrepreneurs. it gave an important boost The result is that we have an enormous We need invention now to help pull us out to sports that were amount of history that we can draw on for of our current morass, and I’m very hopeful played on grass, such inspiration. We led the Industrial Revolution, our next generation of inventors is going 2 Worldwide web as cricket, rugby and I can look back with huge respect at all to do it. To achieve this, we must reconnect and football.  those steps in our engineering and inventive with a culture of innovation that served these INvENTED 1989 INvENTOR TIM BErnErS -LEE past that make my life today so easy. islands so well in the past: where scientists That past — which BBC2 is celebrating this and inventors are appreciated, and where Not to be confused with the internet, which is a system of year with a season of programmes called people see things that inspire them and 1 Thermos linked computer networks, the worldwide web was invented Genius of Invention — can also fuel the next want to make them even better. by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. It was while generation of scientists and inventors. Our working at Cern, the European particle physics lab, that he universities are world class, with a great flask wrote a proposal showing how “hypertext” – a way of sharing history of technology behind them. We turn information via links – could be married with the internet to out a phenomenal number of Nobel Prize create a system for fellow scientists to share data. winners, and our heritage has made us a very INvENTED 1892 INvENTOR He created the first server in late 1990 and, on 6 August, open place, ready to embrace talent from SIr J AMES dEwAr 1991, the web went live, with the r fi st page explaining how around the world. to search and how to set up a site. One critical innovation But there is a downside. Perhaps because This humble invention was the was that web users could link their page to another without we are used to getting there first, we constantly brainchild of Sir James Dewar, an the need for the other user’s approval. And Berners-Lee fail to commercialise British invention. Tim eminent professor of chemistry at Berners-Lee, the father of the worldwide web, gave his invention to the world for free.  Cambridge and leading light of the is rightly applauded for giving his invention to Royal Institution. Dewar didn’t the world — yet on another level it would have invent it to keep tea hot on picnics, been nice if he could have benefited from his but to help his experiments on cooling gases, like air and oxygen, 4 Float glass to such low temperatures that they would liquefy. InvEnTEd 1959 InvEnTOr AlAstAir Pilkington The a fl sk was actually two a fl sks, one inside the other, touching only When we think of inventions, it’s machines and gadgets that where they joined at the top, and usually come to mind. But what about all the processes needed Have your say with a vacuum in between. Its to create and manufacture the materials the modern world is purpose was to keep its contents which of the following made of? Take glass: almost all the glass we use today is made 50 inventions, compiled either warmer or cooler than the using the “float” process, devised by Alastair Pilkington in 1959. Michael Mosley presents for RT by a group of BBC ambient temperature outside. Molten glass is poured from a furnace onto a shallow bath of a new series, The Genius science experts, is your Sadly for Dewar he never of Invention, which starts molten tin: the glass o fl ats on the tin, and under its own weight favourite? and are there on BBC2 next week patented his invention. When the it spreads out to form a level surface. As it gradually cools on any from the randomly German Thermos Company did, the tin, the glass is drawn off in a continuous ribbon. This displayed list that they’ve he sued them – and lost.  process made it far easier and cheaper to make high-quality missed out? vote now at glass, without the need for grinding and polishing.  radiotimes.com/inventions 2 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 37 Modern fire extinguisher 5 Chocolate bar inventeD 1818 inventor Coming soon… highlights GeoRGe WILLIaM MaNB y inventeD 1847 inventor JS FRy & SoNS of the BBC2 season The r fi st chocolate bar was created by JS Fry & The r fi st recorded r fi e extinguisher throughout 2013 Sons of Bristol in 1847. It was sold to the public was invented and patented by a Why the Industrial Revolution as chocolate “delicieux à manger” – delicious to London chemist called Ambrose Happened Here Monday 9.30pm eat – because, until this point, chocolate had Godfrey in 1723. Godfrey’s invention investigating why Britain became the been exclusively consumed as a drink. was perhaps motivated by his line world’s most powerful industrial nation. Fry’s company, originally an apothecary, had of business – he was a successful The Flying Scotsman at 90 been selling drinking chocolate since the 1750s, manufacturer of the highly a fl mmable marking the anniversary of the great but the breakthrough came about when the chemical phosphorus. His gadget rather DID YOU KNOW? l ondon—edinburgh steam train. company decided to combine cocoa powder surprisingly used gunpowder to scatter fry’s merged with sugar and cocoa butter to make a product The Railway: Keeping Britain the r fi e-extinguishing liquid, but there’s with cadbury that could be moulded into a solid bar. It was on Track Behind the scenes of in 1919, their at least one contemporaneous newspaper assets the cocoa butter – the oil extracted from cocoa the nation’s rail network. report of its success in putting out a blaze. combined in a new holding beans – that was the key: it’s melting point The first modern extinguisher, the Murder on the Victorian Railway firm, the british matches the temperature of the human body, “Extincteur”, was invented by naval captain cocoa and investigating the first murder chocolate so it stays solid at room temperature but George William Manby in 1818. It’s said he on a passenger train. company. melts in the mouth. was inspired by the sight of Newton: the Last Magician When other chocolate-makers copied the r fi emen struggling to g fi ht DID YOU KNOW? t he life and work of the physicist, bar, Fry’s upped the ante by introducing the the a fl mes on the top o fl ors george william mathematician, astronomer. r fi st cream-l fi led bar in 1866. More manby is most of a house r fi e in Edinburgh. famous for his Speed King t he life and career of innovations followed and by the First World His solution was a portable manby mortar, record-breaking Donald campbell. War, Fry’s was one of the largest employers which fired copper cask containing three a line to in Bristol.  Turner: Man of Iron to four gallons of potassium struggling ships off shore, examining the artist’s fascination carbonate, which was enabling people with science and technology. dispersed by compressed to be rescued. air via a stopcock.  Science Britannica Brian cox celebrates British science and re-creates his heroes’ experiments. The Genius of Josiah Wedgwood 8 Light bulb an Wilson tells the story of the man who revolutionised British ceramics. INVeNTed 1880 INVeNToR Joseph swan Challenger: Final Flight Fact-based drama about the Cheap and reliable electric lighting was a holy 1986 space shuttle disaster. grail for 19th-century inventors. But didn’t Horizon: Reinventing Invention Thomas Edison get there first? No He was 6 Electric telegraph liz Bonnin reveals the ideas beaten to it by Britain’s very own Joseph and technologies set to Swan, working out of his private lab at his inventeD 1837 inventorS CHa RLeS WHea TSTo Ne transform our lives. house in Gateshead. Swan got his patent – aNd WILLIaM C ooKe and started manufacturing and selling his Stephen Fry’s Planet The electric telegraph was a world-shrinking technology bulbs – in 1880. He developed a tiny filament Invention Fry explores like no other. The r fi st working system was demonstrated in that used specially treated cotton, and set the triumph of consumer 1837 by the British physicist Charles Wheatstone and capitalism and mass it inside an oxygen-free vacuum so that it his young engineer partner, William Cooke. The r fi st production. wouldn’t catch fire when it glowed white-hot. fully operational telegraph ran from 1839 between Swan’s r fi st bulbs lasted little more than The Hairy Bikers: Paddington and West Drayton railway stations in 12 hours but, unlike gas lamps, there was no Rebuilding London, but at r fi st it was slow to catch on. That is flame or dirty smoke and they soon caught Industrial until New Year’s Day, 1845. John Tawell, who had just on. The impresario Richard d’Oyly Carte Britain murdered a lady of his acquaintance, jumped on a train seized the opportunity to make his new Si and Dave at Slough and made his getaway. But when the police Savoy Theatre in London stand out – and visit heritage MeN oN WIRe arrived, the station clerk was able to telegraph Paddington, groups when it opened the following year it was the engineers at work on a telegraph poll in hull, 1955 where Tawell was arrested when his train pulled in. restoring old r fi st public building in the world to be lit It was a sensation, and from here on the technology mechanical electrically throughout. D’Oyly Carte even exploded. Morse Code made it efc fi ient; telegraph cables wonders. took to the stage himself – holding a glowing were soon everywhere – in 1858 the r fi st transatlantic cable bulb aloft, he ceremoniously broke it in front was laid – and by the end of the century there were more of the audience to prove it was safe.  than 150,000 miles of cable connecting the globe.  4 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions Some programme title S may change 511 Carbon fibre Invented 1963 Inventors Royal aiRcRaft EstablishmEnt EnginEERs This marvellous material is one of many inventions developed by the military that are incredibly useful for us all. In 1963, engineers at the Royal Aircraft Establishment’s research station at Farnborough worked out how to reinforce plastics with carbon l fi aments to produce a material that was strong, lightweight and could be mass-produced. Early on, there were setbacks – carbon b fi re was used for the turbine 9 Pneumatic blades for the Rolls-Royce RB-211 jet engine, but the lightweight blades just weren’t strong enough. They failed the bird-strike test – they shattered when a frozen chicken was r fi ed into them at high tyre speed – and the engine had to be scrapped at huge cost. But the inventors at Farnborough found other Invented 1887 michaEl moslEy uses for the material and today the material Inventor John boyd dunlop has thousands of applications in boats, cars, motorbikes, In 1845, railway engineer Robert William sports equipment, and 13 Steam engine Thomson patented the world’s r fi st pneumatic even in the fuselages tyres at the age of just 23. He demonstrated his of jumbo jets.  Invented 1801 “aerial wheels” – a belt of air-filled rubber fitted inside Inventor RichaRd tREvithick a leather casing – on horse-drawn carriages in London’s Regent’s Park. Unfortunately there was no real market for t he high-pressure steam engine DID YOU KNOW? them – the automobile and bicycle hadn’t been invented yet. is the most extraordinary invention the rae team Forty years later, Belfast vet John Boyd Dunlop, unaware of of all time. It made the Industrial improved upon Thomson’s earlier invention, came up with pneumatic tyres to experiments r evolution possible; it made the with carbon stop his son getting headaches riding his bumpy tricycle. This modern world possible. fibre previously time around, the invention coincided with the new bicycle For most of history, empires ran conducted by craze. Dunlop persuaded the captain of the Belfast Cruisers on one thing: slave power. during american and japanese r ichard trevithick’s time we had wind power and Cycling Club to try his tyres: when he chalked up a string of researchers. water power to a very limited extent, but it wasn’t racing victories, the success of the invention was assured.  portable: you had to build your generator next to a stream if you wanted to tap into it. What trevithick did with high-pressure steam was to take power, in this case in the form of coal, and turn it into workable energy. 10 Catseye 12 Disc everybody believes that James Watt was responsible for the modern engine, but he wasn’t. Invented 1933 Inventor pERcy shaw What he did was improve on another invention brakes called the atmospheric engine (devised by t homas Percy Shaw was a Yorkshire road contractor who devised the Catseye newcomen in 1712). It was the size of a house, ree fl ctor in 1933. He liked to claim that inspiration struck when he Invented 1902 Inventor could never have been portable and operated was driving home from the pub on a foggy night and saw the fREdERick william on a completely different principle to the modern ree fl ction of his headlights in the eyes of a cat, sitting by the road. lanchEstER steam engine. It could pump water, but basically The lens that reflects light back at its source had in fact been created it was dead-end technology. Frederick William Lanchester by another British inventor, Richard Hollins Murray, a few years trevithick’s invention, however, would become was one of Britain’s r fi st earlier. Shaw’s masterstroke was to wrap this lens in a flexible rubber the father of the steam train and the father of motorcar designers and casing and set it into the centre of the road. (In the Second World portable steam power. on Christmas eve 1801 he manufacturers. Disc brakes War, the Ministry of Transport realised that Catseyes were the tested a steam car, known as the Puffing Devil, which employ brake pads that squeeze perfect way to keep roads safely lit at night during successfully climbed Camborne Hill in Cornwall. each side of the rotor turning a blackouts.) Shaw’s Catseye was voted the greatest In doing so, trevithick became the first person wheel, and they were t fi ted to the cars design of the 20th century.  to power a piston using high-pressure steam. It had made by his Lanchester Engine been attempted for 2,000 years, but every time Company in Birmingham. They were people had tried, it had blown up and usually killed quicker to cool down and to dry out than whoever was nearby. trevithick managed it: he the drum brakes used in most cars at the time. had the materials and the know-how, and his Sadly, Lanchester lacked the money and invention reduced the steam engine from the size business acumen to develop them properly. of a house to the size of a modern car. He liberated He made his brakes using copper, which wore power, and in doing so transformed the world.  down too quickly, and they didn’t catch on. Michael Mosley’s four-part series, The Genius It was only in the 1950s, after Lanchester had of Invention, begins next week on BBC2 died, that car makers decided to use stronger and more durable materials, like cast iron. Today, almost all cars use his invention.  6 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 7DID YOU KNOW? the 36in yapp telescope, pictured here, was one of the largest in the world when it opened at the greenwich observatory in 1934. 14 Soda water 17 Collapsible Invented 1772 Inventor Joseph priestley baby buggy Joseph Priestley was an 18th-century clergyman and scientist fascinated Invented 1965 Inventor owen Maclaren by chemistry, electricity, optics and many other subjects. As well as being In 1965, engineer Owen Maclaren was delighted to possibly the first person to isolate be visited by his daughter and his r fi st grandchild, oxygen, he invented carbonated water but watched with frustration as his daughter struggled (later known as soda water) when he with an unwieldy pushchair. Fortunately for her – and suspended a bowl of water above a beer vat at for new parents ever since – Maclaren had been the a brewery near his home in Leeds. The carbon dioxide gas man in the Second World War who helped design the given off by the fermenting vat was known as “x fi ed air”. Being 16 Reflecting folding undercarriage for the Spitr fi e. heavier than air, it stayed above the vat rather than dispersing. Now he decided to apply his Priestley found he could dissolve the gas in the water and that knowledge to the pram problem. it made a refreshing drink – of a kind that met the approval of Within two years he had designed, telescope his clean-living, religious-minded friends. manufactured and launched the In 1772, he published a description of how to make carbonated first collapsible buggy, the classic invented 1668 inventor isaac newton water, using sulphuric acid and chalk, and just a few years later B-01, made using lightweight the Swiss z fi zy drinks pioneer Johann Schweppe set up his aluminium tubing. It folded The r fi st known successful ree fl cting Schweppes drinks company in London to manufacture up into something no telescope was built in 1668 by a man who is carbonated mineral water using Priestley’s method.  bigger than a large remembered by most people for identifying umbrella. Today, the effects of gravity. Sir Isaac Newton, then the most modern a fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, took version is sold in 15 Hypodermic syringe the idea of a reflecting telescope, which had more than 50 been around for decades, and turned it into countries.  reality. It gives as much credence to his Invented 1853 Inventor alexander wood engineering skills as to his scientific mind. Alexander Wood was an eminent Edinburgh doctor who He built it to prove his theory that white co-invented the r fi st true hypodermic syringe. The syringe itself light, the visible part of the electromagnetic had been known since ancient times; and the hollow needle had spectrum, is made up of many different been invented a few years before, but Wood’s innovation was to colours. Newton’s design consisted of a combine them into a means of penetrating the skin of his patients spherical-shaped mirror, made of a copper- to deliver drugs intravenously without having to cut the skin r fi st. tin alloy, above which he placed a second a fl t It is said he found inspiration in the sting of the honeybee. mirror at a 45 degree angle, which reflected He initially used the syringe for morphia and other opiates the light into an eyepiece mounted on the side – and he used a glass syringe so he could see how much medicine of the telescope. This huge leap forward in had been used. He also later came up with the idea of adding a telescope technology made astronomical scale. This was a great breakthrough in anaesthetics, and helped observation much more accurate.  advance the procedure of giving blood transfusions.  8 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 9dan snoW 22 Passenger 20 Synthetic railway Invented 1825 dye Inventor GeorGe stePhenson Invented 1856 one of my favourite British Inventor WIllIam PerkIn innovations is George Stephenson’s passenger railway. Stephenson’s In 1856, William Perkin was a precocious parents were illiterate, his mother 18-year-old studying at the Royal College of dying of t B when he was a child Chemistry when he discovered how to make and his father later blinded in an the world’s r fi st synthetic dye – mauveine. industrial accident. It was a The search for how to make synthetics was remarkable background for a man who would at the cutting edge of chemistry at the time, forge a communications revolution. and Perkin was assisting his professor’s hunt While working as a miner, Stephenson enrolled for an artic fi ial way to make the anti-malarial drug in night school where he learnt to read and write, quinine. Working in his makeshift lab at home one at age 18. He established an aptitude as a mechanic day during the university holidays, he was using and was allowed to build machines at his colliery. alcohol to clean out some chemical residue At the time, carts on tracks, pulled by horses, were from a a fl sk when he suddenly saw an used to take coal from the many collieries around intense purple colour newcastle to the t yne, from where it could be DID YOU KNOW? exported by ship. Stephenson started to innovate. appear. At the time, dyes the turbinia He improved the design of cast-iron rails to were made from natural 18 Steam turbine (1894), the first strengthen them, but above all he used steam extracts, and were ship powered by a steam tUrbine, engines to replace horse power. expensive and faded easily. Invented 1884 Inventor Charles Parsons was the fastest Machines that harnessed the power of steam in the world at Purple came only from the the time. see it to push, lift or pull had been around for a while; glands of particular species of After the invention of the electrical motor power from the steam. He made the at newCastle’s Stephenson improved them and developed disCovery molluscs and was among the – which transforms rotation into electrical gaps between the blades very small so mUseUm. workable solutions to ensure that rather than priciest. Perkin worked out how power – the next step was to n fi d a device that the steam would accelerate through remaining static, these steam engines could to reproduce his new colour, to drive it. Piston engines vibrated too the turbine. He also realised you could actually run on tracks. t he result was a rapid then, keeping it secret from violently, so the steam turbine, invented channel the steam through multiple sets succession of world firsts: the first “flanged-wheel his professor, he patented by Newcastle-based engineer Charles of blades in sequence, each one capturing adhesion locomotive”. t he first trackway or railway the method and set up Parsons in 1884, was the answer. the steam from the one before. Three using only locomotives — no horses at all. t he first a company to produce it. DID YOU KNOW? The turbine is like a windmill – steam quarters of the world’s power stations purpose-built passenger car, which ran on the Mauve, as it came to be blasts the turbine blades and turns them still use steam. Whether steam-powered it was said that world’s first regular passenger-carrying railway, the the Grand Union known, and other synthetic dyes that round. What Parsons came up with was or not, every station uses the theory Stockton and darlington. t he world’s first intercity Canal woUld followed it transformed the fashion and ChanGe ColoUr a means of extracting every last ounce of behind Parsons’s innovation.  railway, between Liverpool and Manchester. dependinG on the textile industry. And the chemistry Stephenson’s system of train coupling became what perkin was workinG on of dyes would have many uses in the european standard and his chosen gauge, in his nearby 1 medicine, too.  or distance between the two rails, of 4ft 8 /2in west london dyeworks. (1.435m) has become the world’s standard gauge, 19 Marine chronometer adopted nearly universally. We are still carried along by the revolution that he began.  21 Hip replacement Invented 1761 Inventor John harrIson Locomotion: Dan Snow’s History of Railways starts on Tuesday at 9.00pm on BBC2 Accurate navigation at sea has always accurate time despite being pitched Invented 1962 Inventor John Charnley been critically important but, until the around by wind and waves and exposed invention of the marine chronometer, it to great variations in temperature and British surgeon Sir John Charnley procedure to reduce the chances of was extremely difc fi ult, if not impossible. humidity. John Harrison, a self-taught pioneered the idea that a human hip infection: clean air enclosures, suits Latitude was straightforward to measure; clockmaker, devoted his life to the task. joint could be replaced. He designed the for the surgical team that covered their the problem was longitude. In 1714, He began building his r fi st attempt in joint and, in 1962, performed the r fi st entire bodies, and a system of sterile some 200 years after sailing ships 1730, but 30 years went by before he successful hip-replacement operation, instrument trays. He also taught had r fi st circumnavigated the cracked it. The H4 timepiece lost just v fi e at Wrightington Hospital in Lancashire. surgeons from all over the world. world, the British government seconds between England and Jamaica Charnley’s design used a femoral stem Although many improvements have announced a £20,000 prize and contained numerous horological and ball made of steel and a hip socket been made since – to the design of the – worth almost £3m today innovations. After lengthy disputes with made of Teo fl n – later replaced with joint, the surgical method and the ways – for anyone who could the Board of Longitude, Harrison n fi ally harder-wearing polyethylene. Both of x fi ing the replacement joint to the solve the problem. got his reward in 1773. His clocks were parts were glued to the bone using bone – Charnley set the standard. The key to it was carried by the likes of James Cook and an acrylic bone cement. Today, 80,000 hip replacements are making a clock that William Bligh, and safe long-distance Charnley also introduced important performed in Britain each year, and could somehow keep travel was now possible.  new improvements to surgical almost a million a year worldwide.  00 10 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 1123 Telephone patented 1876 Inventor alexander GraHam bell The telephone is a classic example of how inventions are often the culmination of work done by many individuals, sharing and borrowing each other’s ideas. What’s for sure is that Edinburgh-born Alexander Graham Bell patented his telephone model in 1876, l fi ing his patent just hours before a rival inventor. The telephone came about thanks to the discovery that a thin metal sheet vibrating in an electromagnetic field produces an electrical waveform that corresponds to the vibration and can be acoustically reproduced. It’s also pretty likely that Bell made the r fi st telephone call: “Mr Watson, come here – I want to see you,” he barked down the phone to his assistant in the next room. They r fi st publicly demonstrated their invention at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, and made DID YOU KNOW? their r fi st long-distance call – over ten miles, Bell’s between their respective homes in Canada industrious mind was also – a month later. In 1877, Bell set up the Bell responsiBle Telephone Company, and 150,000 households 26 Television for the loudspeaker in the US had telephones within a decade.  (1876) and the Invented 1925 Inventor JoHn loGie baird forerunner of the metal detector (1881) It’s hard to credit just one person with the invention of television, but it’s indisputable that John Logie Baird was 25 Linoleum the first to transmit moving pictures. In October 1925, he transmitted a greyscale image of ventriloquist’s dummy Stooky Bill. He publicly demonstrated his system the following January Invented 1860 Inventor Frederick Walton and, in 1928, broadcast the first transatlantic television signal, The idea for Frederick Walton’s wipe-clean floor covering came between London and New York. to him around 1855, when he noticed that a rubbery, e fl xible skin But his system ultimately failed. It was mechanical, using a of solidie fi d linseed oil had formed on a can of oil-based paint. rotating disc embedded with lenses, one per line, to scan the He was fascinated by the thought that linseed oil might be made image. A rival system – scanning purely electronically, with no into a waterproof material to rival expensive India rubber. moving parts – was being developed at the same time and was After trying to produce and sell a varnish product, he realised deemed more reliable and, with far more lines per picture, visibly that if he could apply the varnish to a backing himself, he could superior. Baird, it was said at the time, was “doomed to be the sell o fl oring directly – cue linoleum. man who sows the seed but does not reap the harvest”.  For almost a century, until cheaper vinyl o fl oring became 24 Toothbrush popular in the 1960s, linoleum was the ideal material for hallways, passages and kitchens: natural, hygienic and, in its Invented c. 1770 Inventor William addis more expensive “inlaid” versions, even beautiful.  27 Automatic kettle William Addis was a rag trader who got caught up in Invented 1955 Inventor Peter Hobbs a riot in 1770 and was sent to Newgate Prison. While there, and with time on his hands, he felt that the way The automatic kettle – one that switches itself off when the most people were cleaning their teeth, which was to rub water reaches boiling point – was the brainchild of Peter soot and salt over them with a rag, could be improved Hobbs, one of the two founding members of appliance on. Possibly inspired by the design of a broom, he saved company Russell Hobbs. (He had previously invented the a small animal bone left over from a meal and drilled world’s r fi st coffee percolator.) small holes in it. Then he obtained some bristles, tied Hobbs’s 1955 K1 kettle had at its heart a simple piece them in small tufts and poked them through the holes. of technology – the bimetallic strip. This acted like an internal He glued it all together and – hey presto – a toothbrush. switch. It was made from two strips of different metals – After his release, Addis set up a business in 1780 to usually steel and copper – joined together along their length; make what became the world’s r fi st mass-produced the two metals were chosen because of the difference in their toothbrushes. They made him very rich. Cheap brushes rate of expansion when heated. As the water boiled, the used pig bristle; more expensive ones badger hair. His steam was funnelled past the bimetallic strip and, as the two company, Wisdom Toothbrushes, is still going strong metals expanded at different rates, the combined strip would today, though it now uses plastic and nylon.  bend, breaking a circuit and switching off the kettle.  12 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 1330 Modern torpedo Invented 1866 Inventor robert whItehead 28 Glider It was Giovanni Luppis, an ofc fi er in the army of the Austrian empire, who r fi st came up with the idea of Invented 1804 Inventor george cayley a self-propelled anti-ship weapon, but it was the British One of the greatest inventors in the field of aviation engineer Robert Whitehead who really made Luppis’s was Yorkshireman George Cayley. The r fi st-ever concept work. sustained manned glider i fl ght was made in a craft Whitehead was working for the Austrian navy of his design at Brompton Dale in 1853. (Cayley also when Luppis met him and suggested his idea for a invented the tension-spoked wheel – see page 17.) prototype “coast saver” that used a clockwork motor to Cayley first designed an unmanned glider in 1804, traverse the surface of the water and that was steered by and he was the r fi st to move away from the idea that ropes from the land. Whitehead was captivated by the idea, a man-made y fl ing machine must have wings that though didn’t think much of Luppis’s designs. a fl pped like a bird’s. Instead, he laid down the concept Over the next two years he came up with his own design of a x fi ed-wing aircraft, subject to the forces of weight, for a “mineship” – a torpedo launched from a ship in an lift, drag and thrust, for which he became known as the underwater tube, powered by compressed air and with an father of aeronautics. His first pilot is unknown, but it internal mechanism of his own invention that adjusted itself may have been his 12-year-old grandson, also George.  to stay at a constant depth. He presented it to the Austrian navy in 1866, improved the range, speed and accuracy and had a factory making and selling them worldwide. The first ship to be sunk by Whitehead’s invention was the Turkish steamer Intibah in 1878, after being hit by a torpedo launched from a Russian warship.  31 Jet engine Invented 1937 Inventor Frank whIttle Frank Whittle was a 24-year-old RAF fighter pilot in 1930 when he patented a new kind of aircraft engine – the turbojet. Whittle’s new design had no propeller and no pistons, using a gas turbine instead. With a rotating turbine and air compressor – and powered by thrust alone from the back – his new DID YOU KNOW? design was so radical that george cayley the military wouldn’t applied his genius to many fund it, nor would any fields. his ideas manufacturers. 29 Military tank included an internal However, in 1937 combustion engine that was Whittle found a few Invented 1914 Inventor ernest swInton powered by private backers. After gunpowder. In November 1914, the British Army was were used for some of its parts, hence terms two more years of using crawler tractors to pull artillery on the such as the “hatch” and “turret”. development, it was Western Front, when Britain’s ofc fi ial war The r fi st proper tank battle took place at reliable enough for the correspondent, Ernest Swinton, saw them in Cambrai, France, in November 1917, when Air Ministry, and on action and realised that they could perhaps be some 400 tanks penetrated almost seven miles 5 May 1941 at RAF adapted into bullet-proof and power-driven behind the front lines, but they weren’t Cranwell in Lincolnshire, offensive weapons that could storm the enemy supported by infantry and soon had to retreat. a 17-minute test flight went lines and take out their guns. These tanks had the capability to climb a ahead. It was a revolution.  The idea was taken up and “landships” were five-foot obstacle, span a five-foot trench, were developed: the “tank” description was meant resistant to small arms fire and could travel to shield their true purpose from enemy spies. at 4mph. Although the tank helped end the Because it was the Royal Navy rather than the stalemate of trench warfare, it came too late to Army that r fi st developed them, naval terms have much impact on the First World War.  14 00 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 1532 Safety bicycle 35 Tension- Invented 1885 Inventor John Kemp Starley spoked wheel The bicycle as we know it today was originally developed as the “safety bicycle”, because other bikes at the time were Invented 1808 Inventor GeorGe Cayley extremely dangerous. Riders of the penny-farthing perched above a huge front wheel, steered indirectly using the tiny As well as inventing the glider – see page 14 back wheel, and couldn’t touch the ground with their – George Cayley also reinvented the modern feet; only a few daring young men would go near wheel. He wanted wheeled landing gear for them. The key to the new bicycle was the chain his gliders, but wheels with solid or wooden drive, which meant you could still go fast even spokes were just too heavy. His innovation though both wheels were the same size. was to shift the balance of forces in the wheel Together with front-wheel steering and from compression to tension. No more would back-wheel drive, this made it much more the wooden spokes hold the rim up: now the stable and easier to control. The safety rim itself would bear all the weight, and its bicycle was perfected by Coventry shape would stay true thanks to spokes made engineer John Kemp Starley, who in of tight cord, which pulled from the sides 1885 exhibited the Rover (right): the r fi st when weight was placed on the top. recognisably modern bicycle. Light and It was an extraordinary breakthrough, cheap, it caught on quickly and brought which was r fi st described by Cayley in 1808, cycling to the masses. For most people, although it really took off much later when and women in particular, it was arguably tension-spoked wheels using wire spokes the most liberating invention of all time.  were adopted for bicycle wheels. The elegant design has been used ever since.  DID YOU KNOW? jethro tull introduced other farming innovations, including the invention of a horsedrawn hoe and a much-improved 33 Wind-up radio plough. 34 Cement Invented 1991 Inventor Trevor Baylis Invented 1824 Inventor JoSeph aSpdIn In 1991, Trevor Baylis saw a television 36 Seed drill programme about Aids in Africa that In 1824, Leeds bricklayer Joseph Aspdin invented and patented said one way to stop its spread was for a method of making what he called Portland Cement – the type Invented 1701 Inventor Jethro tull people to hear educational information that’s most widely used today. The process involved burning on the radio. So Baylis designed one limestone, mixing it with clay and burning it again; the burning Oxfordshire farmer Jethro Tull’s seed drill, which he perfected in 1701, that needed no batteries, running off produced a much stronger cement than just mixing limestone was a landmark in a new scientific approach to agriculture. Pulled by an internal generator powered by a and clay. Aspdin called it “Portland” as he claimed the set mortar a horse, the drill dug a straight groove into the soil at the right depth mainspring wound by a hand crank. resembled the best limestone quarried from Portland in Dorset. and dropped into it seeds that were regularly spaced. It made planting It really took off when he displayed However, to make it he needed a ready supply of limestone, crops far more efc fi ient: previously, seeds had been scattered by hand, it on Tomorrow’s World in 1994. In and to acquire it he even took to levering up entire paving which meant that lots were wasted when they didn’t fall into the 1996, his Freeplay radio was awarded blocks at night – which twice landed him in court. His son, furrow, and that they were planted too sparsely or too close together. the BBC Design Award, and Baylis William, moved the business to north-east Kent, where there Tull’s invention had three drills side by side and is estimated to have was able to demonstrate it to Nelson were limitless supplies of limestone. William also tweaked the increased productivity eightfold. It was a milestone in what became Mandela. Since then, the radio has formula, using more limestone and a higher burning temperature an agricultural revolution in Britain that, hand in hand with the been distributed all over Africa.  to produce cement that set more slowly, but developed strength Industrial Revolution, helped both population and life expectancy more quickly, meaning it could be used in concrete.  into a steady upward climb for the first time in history.  16 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 17dick and doM 37 Spinning frame 41 Sewage Invented 1768 Inventor RichaRd aRkwRight Richard Arkwright’s spinning frame – more than James system Hargreaves’s better-known spinning jenny – was the cornerstone invention of the industrial revolution in textiles that transformed Invented 1865 northern England and lay behind Britain being named the Inventor Joseph Bazalgette “workshop of the world”. The spinning jenny made the spinning of yarn more efc fi ient, but the spinning frame spun thread that t here are certain had a tighter weave and was considerably stronger. inventions and Unlike the jenny, the frame was too big to be operated by hand, creations that people so Arkwright had to build what’s often said to be the world’s r fi st are aware of every day. t here are very few factory in Cromford, Derbyshire, to house the machines. Now creations that we use the workers had to come to his premises where, under one roof, our whole lives without a water mill and, later, steam engines, powered the machines. ever thinking about or It was the cotton threads produced by the spinning frames even seeing. But that that were turned into the cheap “calicoes” that were exported is exactly what the London sewers are. in huge quantities all over the world.  t heir creator, Joseph Bazalgette, may be remembered as more of an engineer than an inventor, but what he developed in London — the largest and most forward- thinking sewage system the world had ever seen — changed life in the city completely. t here was a sewage system in place beforehand, but all it did was transfer waste straight into the t hames. It was basically one massive open sewer pipe. By all accounts it created a truly awful smell, 39 Electric motor reaching its peak during the Great Stink of 1858. even more worryingly, it caused Invented 1821 Inventor Michael FaRaday serious health problems, such as cholera, because it contaminated the city’s drinking Michael Faraday was employed by the Royal Institution, where he supply. Something had to be done, and investigated the connections between electricity, magnetism and Bazalgette was the man to do it. motion. In 1821, he demonstrated electromagnetic rotation for the His solution was phenomenal: a new r fi st time. A free-hanging wire was dipped into a pool of mercury waste system that would divert the sewage that had a x fi ed magnet in it. When an electric current was passed eastwards away from the river and pump through the wire, it rotated around the magnet – the electricity it out to sea. By 1865 most of the system 38 Bessemer produced a magnetic e fi ld around the wire, which interacted with was working, the main intercepting sewers the magnet in the mercury. This was the world’s r fi st electric motor. used 318 million bricks and measured over Ten years later, Faraday made an incredible intellectual leap: if DID YOU KNOW? 80 miles in length. to do all that work process electricity and magnetism could create motion, could the reverse above ground would have been one thing, Joseph bramah’s other be true – could motion and magnetism create electricity? Faraday but to create it underground was something inventions Invented 1856 Inventor henRy BesseMeR else altogether. We got the opportunity to proved it could with the world’s first electric generator, a copper disk include fountain pens, go down there, and even though we saw that rotated between the poles of a magnet and generated a current Sheffield steelmaker Henry Bessemer didn’t invent paper-making and smelt things we couldn’t describe in machines, hand in a wire attached to it by a spring.  steel production. But his method for simplifying it pumps for beer a family magazine, the intricate maze of and the and greatly reducing the cost makes the Bessemer sewer pipes more than 100 years old was flushing toilet. process rank as one of the most important 40 Hydraulic press just unbelievable. And the most amazing breakthroughs of the industrial era. thing is that it still functions today. Steel is a combination of iron and a small amount Invented 1795 Inventor Joseph BRaMah t he reason is that when Bazalgette of carbon. But the process of adding carbon to iron designed the tunnels, he estimated how was extremely time-consuming and used up a huge Locksmith Joseph Bramah made famously by French mathematician Blaise Pascal), the much the population of London would amount of fuel. Steelmakers wanted to use “pig iron”, unpickable locks and was also a keen pressure inside a closed system is constant, increase in the next 100 years and worked a cheap and plentiful product that had too much inventor. Of all his developments, the one so a small force applied to move the small out how large the tunnels would need to carbon in it, but they couldn’t work out how to get be to meet the needs of the future and that has had the most impact was the piston a large distance translates to a large the carbon out. Bessemer managed to do that by keep the system flowing. Which is why the hydraulic press, which he patented in 1795. force pushing the large piston a small pumping high-pressure air through the molten pig sewers are still in working order today, and In a hydraulic press, two piston cyclinders, distance. Bramah used the press to make LEARN MORE iron. It was assumed the air would cool the iron, why in our eyes it should be seen as a huge with different cross-sectional areas, are parts for his locks: by pushing the small visit the royal but the oxygen in the air actually burnt off inventing achievement.  connected with a tube and filled with fluid piston, he could slowly flatten metal with institution’s carbon in the iron and, in doing so, it raised michael – oil, for example – so that moving one the large piston. The hydraulic press is Watch Absolute Genius with Dick and Dom faraday museum the temperature. This accelerated the process piston will cause the other one to move, too. today one of the most useful and widespread in london to see on CBBC later this month faraday’s and the result was hotter, purer iron that could According to Pascal’s principle (originated machine tools.  magnetic be converted to steel much more easily.  laboratory as it was in the 1850s. 18 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 1944 Photography Invented 1835 Inventor william Henry fox talbot DID YOU KNOW? the first Who was the inventor of photography? It’s hard programmable non-electronic to say. The r fi st x fi ed image was made by a computer was Frenchman, Joseph Niépce, in 1826, using a the z3, designed in 1941 by coating of light-sensitive bitumen on a pewter german plate, which took about eight hours to expose engineer and inventor an image. His collaborator, Louis Daguerre, konrad zuse. continued working with silver iodide, and discovered that if it was exposed to light for just a few minutes, the image could be “developed” later with mercury vapour. In 1835, British inventor William Henry Fox Talbot made another breakthrough. He used silver iodide on paper, and found a way to produce a translucent negative that – unlike Daguerre’s images – could be used to make any number of positives by contact printing. Fox Talbot 42 Electronic programmable computer patented his system and forced any photographer who used his system – which was most of them – to Invented 1943 Inventor tommy flowers pay him a royalty. But his positive/negative system Alan Turing and his Bletchley Park computers became the Colossus was the r fi st truly electronic, digital and has been the basis of all photography since – at least famous for cracking the supposedly unbreakable Enigma programmable computer. Initially, however, bosses at the until the advent of digital cameras.  cipher in 1941. But Turing’s Bombe machines were Post Ofc fi e didn’t believe it could be done, and Flowers electromechanical, and in 1943 they were surpassed had to build it in his spare time using his own money. by the arrival of the Colossus at Bletchley. Ten Colossi were built, all extraordinarily successful. Built and designed by brilliant Post Ofc fi e engineer Sadly for Flowers, the technology that could easily have Tommy Flowers, the machine was conceived to crack the formed the basis for a computer industry was reserved German Lorenz cipher, which was even more complex for military intelligence and remained top secret. Every than Enigma. Constructed using 1,500 vacuum tubes, Colossus machine was dismantled after the war.  43 Stainless steel Invented 1913 Inventor Harry brearley DID YOU KNOW? the sr.n1 made Harry Brearley, the son of a Shefe fi ld steel its first channel smelter, left school at 12 to go to work in one crossing in two 45 Hovercraft hours, three of the city’s steelworks. He was an ambitious minutes. later chap and started to study metallurgy at home hovercraft cut the journey invented 1953 inventor CHristopHer CoCkerell and in evening classes. He gradually built a to under reputation for expertise, and still in his 30s 30 minutes. Christopher Cockerell was an esteemed radio and was chosen to run a new research facility funded electronics engineer who bought a small boat business by two of Shefe fi ld’s largest steel companies. in 1950. He wanted to work out how to make the boats In 1912, he was tasked by a small-arms go faster, and was captivated by the idea of lifting manufacturer to n fi d a material that could them out of the water altogether. Just blasting air prolong the life of their gun barrels. He set downwards underneath a craft didn’t work as too out to n fi d erosion-resistant steel, but found much air leaked out from the sides. corrosion-resistant steel instead. Cockerell’s breakthrough was to blast air down a The story goes that in 1913 he threw out narrow channel around the outside of the craft that some experimental steel made of 12.8 per cent could trap high-pressure air underneath and stop it chromium and 0.24 per cent carbon. A few escaping, forming what he called a “momentum weeks later, he found it in the yard still shiny curtain”. This would produce as much as four times as new. This apparently serendipitous the lift for the same amount of power. After a few years discovery led to the transformation of the of demonstrating a balsa-wood prototype on Whitehall already established cutlery industry in carpets, he eventually got government and military Sheffield. Stainless steel is now used in backing and, on 1 June 1959, the r fi st hovercraft, everything from surgical instruments and the SR.N1, crossed the Channel.  turbine blades to architectural cladding.  20 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 2148 Electric vacuum 46 atm cleaner InVenTed 1967 InVenTOR JoHn sHepHerD-Barron InVenTed 1901 InVenTOR HuBert cecil BootH John Shepherd-Barron was lying in the bath one night in 1965. Earlier he had In 1901, a young engineer called Hubert failed to get to a bank and was wondering Cecil Booth was watching a railway DeBoraH MeaDen how to get money outside bank hours. carriage being cleaned at St Pancras He hit on the idea of a cash dispenser Station by a machine that simply blew and, as he worked for banknote dust off the t fi tings. Booth thought it 50 Steri-spray manufacturer De La Rue, he secured would be better to suck the dust up. To a meeting with Barclays. It signed up, test his theory, he placed a handkerchief InVenTed c. 2008 InVenTOR ian HelMore and the r fi st ATM was installed outside on a restaurant chair, sucked through it its branch in Enfield, north London, in and found an impressive amount of dust The British are very good at working 1967. The r fi st cash was taken out by collected on the other side. out how to overcome obstacles. I do TV star Reg Varney (below). Booth’s r fi st vacuum cleaner, which think it’s within our dnA. As long as As plastic bank cards hadn’t been came to be known as the “Pufn fi g Billy”, we’ve got people coming up with DID YOU KNOW? invented, customers inserted special used a piston engine driven by an ideas and trying to get them off the among booth’s cheques that the machine could recognise. electric motor to suck air through a l fi ter other clients ground, we’ll survive as a nation. were wilhelm ii It gave out a maximum of £10 – at the that was mounted on a horse-drawn cart. For any idea to be picked up, there of germany, time, enough for a wild weekend. He set up a company that sold cleaning nicholas ii of has to be a market, but as an investor on Dragons’ russia and the Users also had to enter a PIN number services. His operators would haul long Den I’m not just looking for ideas; I’m looking for house of – Shepherd-Barron claimed that it was commons. he hoses from his bright red vans through business propositions. I don’t need a 100-page also designed thanks to his wife, who said she could only the windows of buildings. It was a huge business plan; I just need to know what the problem ferris wheels. remember a maximum of four digits, that success; he was even hired to clean is, how many people it affects, and how the invention we all use four-digit PINs today.  Westminster Abbey for Edward VII’s solves the problem. It can be as simple as that. My favourite invention underlines just that point. coronation. But when it came to small, Plumber Ian Helmore sterilised water tanks to household vacuum cleaners, the Hoover prevent legionella breeding in them, and believed Company became the market leader.  47 t in can there had to be a wider application of the technology. Because the bacteria can live in the last two inches InVenTed 1810 InVenTOR peter DuranD of pipework, he decided that putting a UV lamp into a tap or showerhead would deal with the Frenchman Nicolas Appert – working for Napoleon’s army problem. And it works, at a very high level. It has 49 Waterproof – g fi ured out in 1810 how to preserve food by packing it into taken us three years to get it from prototype to sealed containers and then cooking it for hours to sterilise actual physical product, but now it is out there it. But Appert used glass jars; it was British merchant Peter in nHS hospitals, hopefully saving lives. material Durand who, in the same year, adapted Appert’s method to When we’re asked to invest in inventions, there has to be a big enough market and they have to be a new container – the tin can. inventeD 1823 capable of being produced at a price people are Once the r fi st cannery inventor Charles MaCintosh prepared to pay. We all have a value system. We was set up in Bermondsey, might not know how much we will pay for something, a couple of years later, the Charles Macintosh, an amateur but we den fi itely know how much we won’t pay. British Army found itself as chemist, was experimenting with Personally, the invention that’s changed my life is well equipped – better, in fact coal-tar naphtha, a chemical waste the inflatable riding jacket. As I get older I’m much – than the French. There were product, and realised that it was a more aware of the dangers of riding, and now there’s a few problems at the start: powerful solvent that could make a a jacket that’s like an airbag. You attach yourself to many early cans were sealed solution from rubber. He coated a thin the saddle and, if you become unattached at great with lead solder, which could fabric with this solution but, because it force, the jacket inflates so that when you hit the be dangerous. In Sir John was so sticky, he sandwiched it between ground, you’ve got your neck and back protected. picture caption Franklin’s Arctic expedition two layers of the fabric to make a It’s made me more confident and has enhanced the Od dui tin euismod tio od in the 1840s, some of the elit lum dignit lore ming practical waterproof material. value of my leisure riding.  eliquam acc ummy crew suffered from severe His family company started selling Dragons’ Den will return in late summer. If you’re numsan lead poisoning after three the coats as the “Mackintosh”. But they seeking investment for a business idea or invention, wHat’s My pin? years of eating canned food. had a tendency to melt in hot weather. visit bbc. c o . uk/ dr agons den/ apply or email TV sitcom star Initially, a hammer and Another British inventor, Thomas Reg Varney makes the dr agons den bbc. c o . uk r fi st cash withdrawal chisel were required to open Hancock, later improved the product the cans: the tin opener and was made a partner in the firm.  wasn’t patented until 1855.  22 RadioTimes 50 Great British Inventions 23Places to visit Explore your passion for invention – from coal mines to code-breakers 23 Millennium Gallery, Sheffield 33 Science Alive, harlow A fun, interactive The Designed to Shine exhibition forms centre that brings science to life, combined part of a celebration of the centenary of with the Living History section where you Harry Brearley’s discovery of stainless steel. can find out more about our world. 24 Magna Science and Adventure, SoUTh Rotherham The four elements — earth, 34 Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes air, fire and water — explored through Historic site of secret British code-breaking a range of activities. activities during the Second World War, and MidlAnd S birthplace of the modern computer. 35 eastney Beam engine house, 25 Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum The city’s industrial heritage is on Southsea View a pair of magnificent James Watt beam engines, housed in their original display in the Millennium Point exhibition. 26 Coventry Transport Museum high Victorian engine house of 1887. 36 The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust How the city became the birthplace Museum, hampshire Exhibits from the of the British cycle and motor industry. 3 The Big Pit enGlAnd: noRTh early years of aviation, including research 27 Midland Air Museum, Bagington, near 13 Bradford national Media Museum models of Concorde. Coventry The story of the jet age told at A feast of film, TV and radio history, 37 Beaulieu, national Motor Museum, the Sir Frank Whittle Heritage Centre. as well as the UK’s first IMAX cinema. Brockenhurst The history of the motor car, 28 Abbey Pumping Station Museum, 14 Manchester Museum of Science and plus home to the world’s largest collection l eicester The 200-year history of science industry The Power Hall houses a vast of original James Bond vehicles. and technology, from the early days of collection of working steam mill engines as 38 Bovington Tank Museum, Wareham steam and industry. well as gas, oil, hot-air and diesel engines. One of the largest and most comprehensive 15 discovery Museum, newcastle Find 28 Abbey Pumping Station collections of armoured fighting vehicles. out more about Tyneside inventions that had an impact on the world we live in. WeST 16 Cragside, Morpeth, northumbria 39 Crofton Pumping Station, Marlborough WAle S The first house to be lit by hydro-electricity houses the oldest working beam engine in 1 Techniquest, Cardiff Hands-on science is crammed full of ingenious Victorian the world, open from March 2013. centre, with over 100 activities from gadgets, most of which are still working. 40 The Steam Museum — Museum of the launching a rocket to driving electric cars. 17 national Railway Museum, York Great Western Railway, Swindon tells the 2 The national Waterfront Museum, Quite simply, the largest railway museum story of the men and women who built and Swansea tells the story of industry and in the world. operated the Great Western Railway. innovation in Wales over the last 300 years. 18 Stephenson Railway Museum, 41 lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum, 3 The Big Pit, national Coal Museum north Shields See locomotives including lacock, near Chippenham The museum Blaenavon, Tofaen Take an underground George Stephenson’s Billy, a forerunner 29 ironbridge Gorge Museums, celebrates William Henry Fox Talbot and his tour of the mine, led by a former miner of the world-famous Rocket. Shropshire Ten award-winning museums contribution to the invention of photography. and find out all about the history of along the Severn Gorge explain the area’s 19 Quarry Bank Mill and Styal estate, 42 At Bristol is one of the UK’s biggest coal-mining, once the area’s mainstay. Wilmslow features a cotton mill that’s importance in the Industrial Revolution. interactive science centres. powered by Europe’s most powerful 30 Black Country l iving Museum, 43 SS Great Britain, Bristol Built by SCoTlAnd working waterwheel. dudley Visit one of the country’s largest Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it was the first 4 national Museum Scotland, e dinburgh 20 national Waterways Museum, open-air museums that celebrates the propelled steam ship to cross the Atlantic. The Science and Technology gallery looks ellesmere Port brings together innovations of the Black Country. 44 Porthcurno Telegraph Museum at scientific advances and innovation in a unique fleet of historic boats telling the 31 heritage Motor Museum, Gaydon, Porthcurno valley in the far west of Scotland and beyond. story of Britain’s canals and waterways. Warwickshire Home of the world’s biggest Cornwall was the hub of international 5 Glasgow Science Centre Interactive 21 national Coal Mining Museum, collection of historic British cars. cable communications from 1870—1970. centre where children are encouraged Wakefield The 200-year history of 45 l evant Mine and Beam engine, to get involved with the magic of science. eAST mining is brought to life. Cornwall Enter this copper and tin mine 6 Museum of Transport, Glasgow 22 World of Glass, St helens including 32 Woolsthorpe Manor, near Grantham and see the beam engine that’s been See the world’s oldest bicycle, and find tours of the tunnels under the Cone House, Visit the birthplace of Britain’s greatest restored after 60 years lying idle. out why Glasgow was once known as the the 19th-century glass-making furnace. scientist, Sir Isaac Newton. l ondon workshop of the British Empire. 17 The national Railway Museum 46 design Museum From 30 January 7 Satrosphere Science Centre, Aberdeen there is an exhibition featuring key designs Get hands on with over 50 scientific activities. that have changed the world. 8 Museum of Communication, 47 Michael Faraday Museum — Royal Burntisland, Fife Explore the history institution Explore the world-changing of radio, radar, television and IT. science that’s happened at the Royal 9 Museum of l ead Mining, Wanlockhead, Institution since 1799. dumfries & Galloway Take a guided tour 48 Science Museum The Codebreaker of the 18th-century Lochnell Mine. exhibition celebrating the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, is open until June 2013. noRTheRn iRelAnd 49 Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe tells the 10 Titanic dock and Pump house, Belfast story of the Thames Tunnel, the first in the Set in the heart of the Harland and Wolff world to be built under water. shipyard, where Titanic was built. 50 Royal observatory, Greenwich is the 11 W5 Science and discovery Centre, home of Greenwich Mean Time and also Belfast Get to grips with more than to London’s only planetarium. 250 interactive exhibits. 12 Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Check venue websites for full details. For hollywood, Co down Explore a collection more ideas on places to observe British that features horse-drawn carriages to cars. inventiveness go to bbc.co.uk/thingstodo WHILE EVERy EFFORT HAS BEEN MADE TO ENSURE THE ACCURACy OF THE CONTENT, WE ARE AWARE THAT THERE REMAIN AREAS OF DEBATE AROUND SOME INVENTIONS AND, IN PARTICULAR, DATES ATTRIBUTED. COMMISSIONED By BBC LEARNING, WRITTEN By DAN HILLMAN, DESIGNED By STUART MANNING AND JACOB HOWARD. COVER ARTWORK By JURGEN ZIEWE. PHOTOGRAPHS: ALAMy, CORBIS, GETTy, PA, SSPL, ADVERTISING ARCHIVE, NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM

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