Thursday, 23 April 2015
Tantalus (Terror) Tans . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers
Tantalus (Terror) Tans
Tantalus Tans was the son of Lord and Lady Tans, living on their huge (I mean really huge) Surrey Estate (called
Surrey). He was known to all the locals as Terror Tans
because of his complete lack of concern for the local population. In fact it
got to the point where each year the annual stag hunt had to import beaters
from the far reaches of
because Tantalus nearly always shot a few bearers in his keenness to get the
first stag. He was; to put in bluntly a
rich spoilt brat hated by local villagers and estate workers, but who could do
no wrong in the eyes of his parents. Britain
He was also very keen to embrace any new technology that came along and when he heard of the new horseless carriage, bought several and hired the best engineers of the time to build him his own Tans Steam Tractor. He wanted it to be the fasted vehicle of the day and spared no expensive in creating his dream. Then on the 17th April 1885 he attained an average speed of 62 mph over one mile through the estates lawns and rose garden. Proud of his great achievement, he assumed that this land speed record would stand for years.
However imagine his shock when 10 days later his old college sparing partner Topper Clarkson achieved a new land speed record with his Clarkson J Electric Car with an amazing 93 mph on Pendine Sands. Tantalus Tans immediately got his chief engineer Tartan Ted (Scotty) to tweak his own Tans Steam Tractor for more power and speed. Then on May 8th they set out on a trial run. As the vehicle thundered past the main hall Tartan Ted (Scotty) Tans’s faithful Engineer hanging on for grim death could be heard shouting . . . . . The Engines Will Nay take it Captain. . . . But Tantalus (Terror) Tans was laughing hysterically as his vehicle got close to 100 mph, a speed thought impossible. However just as the vehicle was passing the statue of Venus near the water feature with its famous flock of flamingo’s it exploded. Lord and Lady Tans never really recovered and painted the entire house black. But in the villages the villagers celebrated knowing that it was safe to earn a few pounds as a beater in the Stag hunt again.
Even today if you wander into the quiet back lanes of
it is possible to find rusty decaying and burnt out car parts lying in the hedgerows and
fields, a reminder of those glory days of motoring.