Thursday, 30 April 2015

Zero Zephaniah Zephyr. . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Zero Zephaniah Zephyr

It was quite plain even in the life time of Zero Zephaniah Zephyr that he was stark staring mad despite his great skills in engineering and biology.  After years of studying the human form he became convinced he could make a superhuman or as he liked to call it a superhero.  He was so convinced that he could make a man that could live for ever with extraordinary powers that he set about using his own body for the experiment, slowly replacing parts with new more powerful electro-mechanical parts. There was no denying his skill as a surgeon, it is far from easy to replace your own arms and legs and ensure that the new super limbs function correctly. However once he decided to replace all his organs and transfer his brain to a new super skull to make him indestructible he needed help.

This was his eventual downfall because the only people who had conducted this sort of surgery were Professor Venomous Voldemort and his new colleague Professor Frankenstein. They were keen to help, but neither of them were tidy professors and the brain of Zero Zephaniah Zephyr got misplaced among Professor Venomous Voldemort’s own experiments with the brains of cats. So it was a shock when the world learnt that Professor Venomous Voldemort’s intelligent machine, the Voldemort Valuator Device contained the brain of Zero Zephaniah Zephyr. Worse still the new Electro-Mechanical Super Hero Zero Zephaniah Zephyr with an expected life of at least 1000 years had the brain of Mr Quinton Quantum-Quizzical’s cat called Quantum.

Zero Zephaniah Zephyr or as he liked to be know Fluffy was last seen by an angry mob holding fiery torches. He was said to be chasing a very large rat through the woods surrounding a large central European castle, where the angry mob were keen to have words with the two professors.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Back at the Preposterous Club of Great Britain A voice suddenly rings out . . . And that gentlemen concludes my new book The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers. . . .  A loud bang as the hard cover of the illuminated volume snaps closed awakening up several of the elderly inventors with a sudden start?  One of which Dr David Danister brushing greenish sulphur from his ripped shirt replying . . . Excuse me but I think you will find that myself and Harrison Horsechestnut Hutt were not lost forever underground and we emerged fit and well only a few months later. . . .

Well it is OK for you too added Edmond Eccles but according to this book I die when in fact I was released early for good behaviour and besides Esmeralda was only stunned and then ran off with a man dressed as a penguin.

Then before anyone else can say a thing, a terrible sound could be heard at the main door of the Preposterous Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MMMMMmmmmmmmmeeeooooooooooooooowwwwwwww .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .  O my god shouts a very panicky Professor Venomous Voldemort, its that monster the cat, known to us all as Fluffy sorry I mean Zero Zephaniah Zephyr. . . . Its come to Kill us all for what happened.

End of Part One (Part two to follow in a few days time)

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Yemiliano Yaragoza. . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers


Yemiliano Yaragoza

 Miss Yemiliano Yaragoza’s name is seldom mentioned even in Victorian times she was almost completely unknown despite being one of the greatest mathematicians the world has ever know. It is even said by some that Albert Einstein could never have worked out his own theories without reading her work, and that even he did not fully understand the bulk of it.  She calculated that the time space gravitational balance was held in place by a force she called the Yaragoza String Particle. And that a small change in this changed the ratio of time, space and gravity and so instantly solved the paradox of the bend in time and space, Black holes, entire star systems clasping in seconds, the Big Bang and dark matter. As her theory stated (in simple terms) the Yaragoza String Particle is a multi dimensional force and much like an iceberg only a tiny part of it can be detected in our universe, but its influence is critical to the universes stability. Any change in ratio of the Yaragoza String Particle between dimensions even to a factor of 10ˉ¹²ⁿ could cause huge changes to the known universes structure.

Had she lived in Europe she would be famous even today, but she lived in Mexico, a place of turmoil during Victorian times. She was a dedicated left wing idealist and activist, a Soldaderas (a woman of the Mexican Revolution). And is said to have invented the very first cassette loading hand held recoilless machine gun. A weapon she destroyed herself a few years later when she became disillusioned with the political leaders and activists as they became corrupted by money and power.  She also corresponded with Roger Rocket Ravens and calculated his flight path to and from the moon.

Having become disillusioned by the complexities of the revolution in Mexico she bought a small tapas bar on the coast and kept and bred rare Penguins in a specially designed Penguin House its designed specially commissioned from Wibury Wainwright Wrong who she had advised on the design of his lightweight steam powered aero engine.   

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Person X. . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Person X

There are few things that are still covered by the official secrets act of Great Britain that have their origin back in the Victorian Era, one or two shock stories relating to the government itself and the one about the Royal Family (yes we all know that anyway).  However there is one that deals with a device so ahead of its time that even now it is felt that it should remain entirely secret and is only known as device X and even this is speculative. It is said that one of the members of the Preposterous Club of Great Britain was discussing a substance he had accidently discovered as part of an experiment to create gold from base metals.  The substance which he called Substance X had rather unique powers but no one knew how to harness the powers in a productive way.

Then someone now only now only Person X invented Device X; a device that it was felt could revolutionize the whole way of life for mankind on planet Earth.  Of course the members of the Preposterous Club of Great Britain were Wealthy Victorian Gentlemen and changing the way of life for all of mankind when they were actually living a rather comfortable lifestyle was a worry. As was the thought of going mad and thinking they were Penguins.  So it was that the Preposterous Club of Great Britain approached the Government of the day for advice about both Substance X and Device X. The Government concerned that if the public became aware of the device would become rebellious and march on the houses of parliament, immediately made anything connected in anyway to the device an official secret. . . code named The X Files.

It is said the device still exists in a high security military establishment in Wales and has a twenty four hour permanent guard; although it is thought the guards themselves are unaware of the true nature of what they are guarding; having been told it is merely a thermal nuclear device of some sort. The government of the day even went to the extreme of removing X from the Welsh alphabet as part of a deception plan, meaning that Device X can not exist in Wales by that name because there is no X. . . . 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Wilbury Wainwright Wrong . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Wilbury Wainwright Wrong

Wibury Wainwright Wrong was brought up in a strange household where his father also an eminent inventor of his day, had gone slightly mad and spent much of his time sat in the bath with a bicycle wheel on his head convinced he was a penguin. And when Wibury Wainwright Wrong reached the age of 18 he promised his father that he would make a machine that would allow them both to fly like the birds. So it was that Wilbury assisted by his younger brother Womble Wainwright Wrong built the Winged Wonder which successfully flew 300 yards in 1882 powered by a tiny steam engine which produced 14 HP. There were few witnesses as their father who also got to fly would leap out of the plane on landing and start rummaging for worms in the ground.

They thought little of their achievement as it was done to satisfy their fathers need to be a bird, but many years later they did complain that the Wright brothers were not the first people to achieve powered flight.  It was the Preposterous Club of Great Britain who took up the cause and complained to the American Embassy in London saying that the Wright brothers were wrong and the Wrong brothers were right. Well as you might expect this got very confusing and folk did not know if  the Wrights were right and Wrong’s wrong or wrong was right and Wright was wrong. Confused even more when someone said Two Wrongs don’t make a Wright, which led to a fight in Trafalgar Square where unfortunately  Wainwright Wrong senior still convinced he was a bird climbed Nelsons column and did something unspeakable on the head of Nelson while eating peanuts.  Everyone agreed this was wrong so in order to avoid the issue turning up in history Wibury Wainwright Wrong let history say that the Wright Brothers achieved mans first powered flight.

However the Wright Brothers got very paranoid after that and demanded that no one else was allowed to fly in the sky ever and spend many years chasing men dressed as penguins with bicycle wheels on their heads. Unaware that this was a common Victorian inventors ailment rather that a practical effort at manned flight.  As for the Wainwright Wrong family they lived a quiet life designing penguin enclosures one of which (the award winning Penguin House) at London Zoo has got a subtle hint of the propeller from their now forgotten monoplane the Winged Wonder. . 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Professor Venomous Voldemort . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Professor Venomous Voldemort

A strange character with few friends and a way about him that quite frankly scared the heebie jeebies out of even the hardiest of folk. He claimed to have invented the very first intelligent machine, the Voldemort Valuator Device. However there were many who argued that an intelligent machine can not have the brain of a human being in a glass jar attached to electrodes as the source of its intelligence. Professor Venomous Voldemort himself argued that he only used a small part of a human and the rest of his device used Electro-mechanicals and chemistry to operate and was therefore an intelligent machine.

One of Professor Venomous Voldemort’s main problems was that the police kept confiscating the machines brain and after they had confiscated five of them were starting to get suspicious. This led to Professor Voldemort having to use the brain of a cat he found in a box in order to do his first demonstrations in the Royal Observatory.

Which in turn resulted in several unforeseen circumstances?

1           It kept losing at chess very badly, but then cats are not good at chess.
2          The device took one look at the buffet for the invited members of the science world and promptly tried to bury all the food

3          It was prone to sulk and would sit with its back to the eminent scientific audience

4          The Royal Observatory at the time was overrun with mice and when one ran through the great hall the device headed off at speed in pursuit. It was a device not designed for chasing mice and promptly fell over spilling the cats brain onto the floor, reducing the machines ability to think by a substantial margin.

However the world of science did show interest and in particular Professor Frankenstein and Professor Venomous Voldemort collaborated on several projects involving artificial intelligence and cats.  None of which ended well . . . . . He was last seen being pursued by a large crowd of villagers with fiery torches heading towards a central European castle.  

Friday, 24 April 2015

Uriah Useless . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Uriah Useless

Uriah Useless was a great inventor and has a long list of diverse machines and devices to his credit, but due to a cruel twist of fate his name is little known to the masses.  A key reason for this is easily explained by one of his greatest inventions . . . .  The Useless Underwater Umbilical Suit.   You see despite his skills and knowledge he found it difficult to instil confidence in the users of his diving suit when blazoned across the front in large letters is the word USELESS. He was often advised to drop his own name from his inventions but as with many Victorian Gentlemen Inventors vanity dictated that he wanted his name up there for all to see. 

However like many of the inventors of the day he was a wealthy man and inventing was something of an interesting pastime, something to have long discussions about back in the eminent surroundings of the very exclusive Preposterous Club of Great Britain, founded by the right Honourable Arnold Alexander Axle Armstrong-Atlas. It was at the Preposterous Club where Uriah Useless first heard of a ship called the Nautilus which he was told was at the bottom of the sea with the famous French writer Joules Verne trapped inside. He immediately set off to save him using his Useless Underwater Umbilical Suit but of course the Nautilus was not a real vessel.

When Uriah Useless returned to the Preposterous Club of Great Britain he became aware that it was all a practical joke by Benjamin Braithwaite Browning and there was much sniggering behind his back. However he got his revenge as a witness in the trial of Benjamin Braithwaite Browning but he never returned to the Preposterous Club and became a recluse in a Scottish castle where he apparently took to wearing a bicycle wheel on his head and talking to Puffins.

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 Britain 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.

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 Surrey 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.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Stanley Stumbledore . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Stanley Stumbledore.

A chemist who spent many years working on the process of Alchemy, but not with a great deal of luck. However he was never downhearted by his failure because he saw it all as part of his quest for knowledge. A knowledge that led him to become the leading authority on symbiotic substances. Now everyone knows that the best symbiotic substances have at their core a large open crystalline structure allowing it to fill with tiny particles in the symbiotic process. And it was this process that led to a piece of brilliant lateral thinking, because Stanley Stumbledore’s castle was at risk of falling into the sea due to coastal erosion.

The sea is a powerful force and if you simply build a wall the sea will quickly destroy it but if you build an open crystalline structure the force will be defused and the structure will survive stopping the erosion; eventually filling the spaces with sand creating a natural environment for small sea critters and the like.  So it was; that the Stanley Stumbledore Shore Star was created which varied in size from about six feet in diameter to fifteen feet in diameter.  The Victorians loved the sea and were keen to control its power and eat ice cream while paddling about in suitable swimwear. So the eradication of coastal erosion was seen as an important step in mans authority over nature. As the Rev Oscar Overlap Oppenheimer would often tell his congregation on cold wet Sundays.

Sadly Stanley Stumbledore as with many Victorian inventors became delusional and thought that he could command the sea purely by standing in front of it. So one very stormy night encouraged by Rev Oscar Overlap Oppenheimer (who was keen to prove that man could master nature); Mr Stumbldore ventured onto the beach where he was promptly swept out to sea.   The  Rev Oscar Overlap Oppenheimer told the shocked watching crowd it was penance as Stanley Stumbledore had obviously been eating ice cream and wearing a bathing suit, both clearly the work of the devil.

Interestingly a group of fishermen who arrived back in port a few hours later said they had seen two men emerge from a cave and save Stanley Stumbledore as he was being dashed on the rocks. One of the men a strange green colour with mad hair and wearing a ripped shirt while the other kept shouting well known left wing protest chants. They also claimed to have seen a man dressed as a penguin with a bicycle wheel on his head running along the cliff top, so folk just said they had been drinking moonshine after a good catch of mackerel and herrings.

Stanley Stumbledore was never seen again though, although you do sometimes see large concrete star shaped coastal defences in small Victorian towns. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Roger (Rocket) Ravens . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Roger (Rocket) Ravens

Roger or Rocket to everyone that knew him had one ambition in life and that was to be the first man on the moon and so he spent his life building the Ravens Rocket Mk1 in his garden in Port Talbot. The only town who would allow anyone to build and launch a sizeable rocket from a suburban back garden without a licence.  Making it the rocket capital of Europe for a short time until the local council truly understood the risks.

It took many years to complete but with the assistance of several eminent thinkers and engineers of the time including Marlin Mascots, Harrison Horsechestnut Hutt, Arnold Alexander Axle Armstrong-Atlas and Miss Yemiliano Yaragoza he did finally finish his rocket in 1869, and on July 20th set off on his greatest adventure destroying several houses and a café on take off which did not go down well.  At this stage Mr Quinton Quantum-Quizzical said to the assembled press we know Roger (Rocket) Ravens is in his rocket but we do not know if he is alive or dead and therefore we have a paradox where both states can exist at the same time.

The trip lasted about 9 days in total and he successfully landed back in the Port Talbot  allotments, which did not go down well as it was reaching the point where the main harvest was due, and complains were made to the council.  The massed crowds were egger to see the large quantities of blue moon cheese they had heard of, but Roger (Rocket) Ravens only had a pile of grey rock. At this point folk lost interest as Port Talbot had lots of rock already and they did not really want more. And the hopes of selling Welsh rarebit made with moon cheese as a tourist attraction had now vanished into the dust (grey moon dust).

A few weeks later Roger discovered his rocket smashed up and in bits in his garden, an act of vandalism thought to have been undertaken by angry allotment holders. The local newspaper the Port Talbot Gazette proudly ran the main headline that night . . . . Who Killed Rogers Rocket. . . . A headline that has never been surpassed to this day by the local paper.

However  Roger (Rocket) Ravens was content knowing he was the first man to walk on the moon and that one day someone will find a Welsh flag with a large Welsh rarebit next to it (Rogers Rarebit  . . . . HA HAH AH ah ah ah ah ah hha ha ha ha ha haha ha ha).

Monday, 20 April 2015

Quinton Quantum-Quizzical . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Quinton Quantum-Quizzical

Quizzical by name, quizzical by nature was Mr Quinton Quantum-Quizzical’s little catch phrase which he repeated at least half a dozen times a day to his faithful assistant (Ivan Pavlov) and his cat (called Quantum). And there was no denying that he was a quizzical man, experimenting in all sorts of things from chemistry to mechanics and even electricity and alchemy. One day he was invited by Professor Venomous Voldemort to an experiment at the Royal Observatory which involved a cat or at least part of a cat. And this made Mr Quantum-Quizzical ponder his own cat that spent most of its time sleeping in a box in the laboratory. So how was he to know for sure that the cat was alive or dead, because while it was in the box both options were possible and this led to an interesting paradox for Mr Quantum-Quizzical.

So he invented the Quantum Cat Quizzer a device that you can attach to your cats collar or a box and it periodically stabs the cat with a sharp point if the cat does not move. So if your cat falls asleep in a box you will know the cat is alive when it leaps out and runs round the kitchen panicking. If it remains in the box then it can be assumed to be dead.

The device worked well to some degree but it had issues like being made of cast-iron which did make the device heavier that ideal, and a dependence on steam as the devices energy source, leading to several overheated cats. Who when stabbed repeatedly with the Quantum Cat Quizzer did not move, proving the cats were dead.

Although Quinton Quantum-Quizzical did finally master the design of the Quantum Cat Quizzer, the tide of public opinion was against the device as us British were by then turning into a nation of cat lovers. Also several little old ladies very badly injured when their cats having been stabbed with a sharp point hid on their owners heads where the poor old cat then got stabbed again leading to further injuries to the little old ladies.

In the end Quinton Quantum-Quizzical finally put forward the theory that most cats in a box are in fact alive but most little old ladies in a box are dead. A good theory, but one that led to him being repeated stabbed with a sharp pointy stick by his own mother who often slept in a box with his cat.

His assistant Ivan Pavlov suggested they try some experiments with dogs instead but by then Quinton Quantum-Quizzical had decided that he was going to become a nun and was last seen dressed as a penguin with a bicycle wheel on his head.  

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Dr Purlieus Pope . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Dr Purlieus Pope

A tall and elegant explorer very much in the mould of what a Victorian explorer should look like so it was strange to many of his colleagues that he got on so well with Mr Newton Newton III. But they were both interested in the everyday wildlife around them, and it was Dr Pope’s interest in the humble pigeon that led him to make his most exotic and perilous trip to the undiscovered arid wastelands of Persia

After reading an old manuscript about a building of great elaborateness deep in the centre of the Persian deserts,  in which it implied it was built to house the worlds most beautiful and rare pigeon, the Poisonous Puff Pigeon of Persia. He decided that he must find out if this was true or not. No one else had undertaken the journey because it was thought foolish to travel across half the world in search of a pigeon loft full of fancy pigeons when there were loads in the suburbs of Bradford where pigeon fanciers were ten a penny.

But no one could have expected the sheer majesty of the building now known to everyone as the PERPLEXED PINEAPPLE PAGODA of PERSIA with its POLYMORPHIC PLEBEIAN PERPENDICULAR PITCHED PILLARED PIVOTING Staircase.

However Dr Purlieus Pope had arrived in Persia at a time of great unrest (yes it was ever such) and the various tribal factions were all convinced that Dr Purlieus Pope was some sort of western imperialist spy  (yet again it was ever such). So before he could return to Britain someone slipped a poisoned pigeon pie into his Harrods Explorers Luxury Hamper. He made it back but was extremely ill and never got to return. He also made sure that his good friend Mr Newton Newton III arranged that his ashes after his death were scattered at his place of birth at the source of the old hill road to Stockdale. Where even today you can find a plaque commemorating his achievements as an explorer, mounted on a small bronze of a pigeon at the side of the road near ancient woodland. . 

Friday, 17 April 2015

Rev Oscar Overlap Oppenheimer . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Rev Oscar Overlap Oppenheimer

An old fashioned fire and brimstone vicar the Rev Oscar Overlap Oppenheimer certainly knew how to keep the masses on the straight and narrow and no hanky-panky was going to be going on in his parish. But he also was a man of science and said that it was his duty to understand the finer detail of Gods greater plan. His own particular area of knowledge being optics, and he had a huge collection of prisms lenses and mirrors and was a fastidious recorder of data from his many experiments with light.  It was during one of his experiments that he realized that there was no defined scale for the levels of light and shade so the Rev Oppenheimer invented the Oppenheimer Christian Grey Scale.  It was known as the Christian Grey Scale of Shade as the Rev Oscar Overlap Oppenheimer wanted to ensure that his work was associated with the hand of God. Not some sort of deviant sort of scientific invention such as the Barometric Bellows which he condemned in his sermons on many an occasion.   

He carefully analyzed the many levels of light and shade for his scale and eventually settled at fifty grades of shade all with specific intensities and all given a simple common name and description as well as a scientific code reference. So for the simple layman . . . . WOW that’s black I can’t see the cat. . . . meant it was very dark, and . . . . . WOW that’s bright I can’t see the cat . . .  meant is was bright seriously bright.

The Oppenheimer Christian Grey Scale has fallen out of use these days and no one mentions the fifty grades of shade any more but it is said that the Ghost of the Rev Oscar Overlap Oppenheimer has started to appear in bookshops in the last couple of years at night and is not happy.  

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Newton Newton III . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Newton Newton III

Newton Newton III (known to his friends as Ken) had been born into a poor mining family, his father (Newton Newton II) moving to London after he lost his job in the mines when new technology was introduced in the form of the Hutt Hydraulic Hammer. But Newton Newton III was an upbeat young man who loved to explore nature and was convinced that humans had evolved from an earlier less intelligent species on the planet. He often observed the dog eat dog lifestyle of the poverty of the Victorian ghettos of London and how man would battle with dogs to get the scraps of the well off in order to survive, recording the details in his many journals. Unfortunately this led Newton Newton III (Ken) to believe man was descended from dogs which ultimately resulted in his theory being dropped in favour of that of Charles Darwin,

He did realise however that he did not have to go on The Grand Tour to Greece, Persia or Venice or hunt for the source of the Amazon or Nile or climb huge mountains in order to discover new species of plants, animals, pigeons or insects, Publishing several books based on his own ideas and observing the many aspects of wildlife missed by his more affluent contemporaries in more exotic climates.

In fact today several of his books have become classics of there time proving good science is not all about money, these include the following publications

The streams of the Bradford Suburbs
The hedgerows of Port Talbot
The source of the old hill road to Stockdale
The many ponds of Luton
Lyons in London . . . A Guide to Wildlife in London Café Culture.

After discovering a new species of bright red frog in the ponds of Luton Newton Newton III became known as Red Ken. Then as he got older he went into politics having seen the poverty of many parts of Britain eventually becoming head of the GLC (Greater London Council), but his first passion was always wildlife and exploring the backwaters of Great Britain.    

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Marlin Mascots . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Marlin Mascots

Another inventor who had known the right Honourable Arnold Alexander Axle Armstrong-Atlas and Georgina Gramophone Goshwell with whom there had been rumours of a relationship. although Merlin always denied everything claiming that the rumour was started by Benjamin Braithwaite Browning to deflect from his own misdemeanours .  

He realized though through their work though, that sound could be converted to motion so that it would be possible to create a sound powered motor. Inventing the Mascots Motion Motor, an incredibly clever device because the louder the noise the more powerful the motor became. And by building in a regulator and energy storage system the Mascots Motion Motor could be used even through quiet periods.

It was said that the Mascots Motion Motor could provide clean limitless energy for thousands of years by turning the sounds of nature into regular motion with no pollution and at almost no cost to the users.  A claim thought to have been proved by extensive tests carried out by the British Coal Board, but the Coal Board Chairman Mr Haggy Hatcher suddenly announced the shock news that the device had been destroyed and thrown down a disused mineshaft. The only witness a Mr Skippy Kangaroo saying he saw two men, one a muscular chap with a green glow and a rather ripped shirt on, carrying a Danister Detector while the other was shouting . . . . Haggy Haggy Haggy . . . out out out. . .  Although most conspiracy theorists have always claimed the British Coal Board just wanted the machine destroyed.  Strangely Marlin Mascots was never seen again and a brief statement from the British Coal Board announced that the news of the destruction of his machine was too much for Mr Mascots. And that he had gone completely mad convinced he was a penguin, and was convalescing at a secret location.  Thought by some to be the Green Acres Retirement Home for Naval Officers, because of its secure facilities.

Sadly there are only a few rough sketches left of the original machine as all the detailed drawings and plans were destroyed in a localized fire at the British Coal Boards central records office.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Lester Livingstone . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Lester Livingstone

As a professional poker player Lester Livingstone was always looking for an edge to give him an advantage over his fellow players on the professional circuit.  And after reading the rules in detail realized that there was one rule that had been completely overlooked by the official body in charge of the professional gaming rules for poker. 

It appeared to Lester that there was nothing in the rules to say that a man could only have two arms. In fact the more Lester thought about this, the idea of a man having more than two arms appeared to have many advantages.  So he invented the Livingstone Limbs which doubled the number of arms a man could have to a very useful four.  And as a card player he was able to shuffle cards in ways that no one had ever thought of before, confusing his opponents to such a degree that they lost concentration and would lose.

It also meant Lester could tie his shoes and put his hat on at the same time, drive his horseless carriage and read the newspaper as well as a huge host of other useful activities that were thought to be beyond the skills of the average Victorian Gentleman.

His down fall however was his showing off and while juggling fifteen axes for a bet he had a terrible accident.

His final word as he lay on his death bed a few hours later has gone down in history and is often uttered by many folk even to this day in a similar situation.

AAAAauuuuuuugggHHHHH. . . . .  

Interestingly two years ago today I wrote of another death in the real world where a certain person was stabbed in the back with a lot of sharp implements so I thought bearing in mind the timing and the forthcoming Election here in Britain I would add my little tale to the days letter L. I know its all very long now but there is no need t read it if it is not of interest.

A long long time ago back in the days of the Roman Empire there was a small country called Britaintium, it was a strange little country split in two by a huge wall, one side of the wall was called the Right and the other the Left. Just occasionally someone would stand on the wall in the middle but everyone would throw rocks at them and laugh.
Britainium had always been controlled by the Right because they were wealthy and had the Bankors and the famed Financial Wizards to keep the armies of the Left suppressed. But the Left found a hero called Athurious Scargilious who with his fanatical army of Minors laid siege to the grand castle of the Rights power house. The Right was frightened and for a while did not know what to do, but then they found a new champion called Maggium Thatchosismad who led her army of Financial Wizards and Bankors into a terrible blood thirsty battle against the brave (by mad) Athurious Scargilious and his Minors, the battle raged for many many months but at the end of it most of the Minors were dead or wounded and Athurious Scargilious was a broken man and would never lead his troups to victory ever again.
Some thought that Maggium Thatchosismad should give the Left an olive branch to heal the wounds and unite Britainium, but Maggium Thatchosismad turned the olive branch into a crown as worn by the Roman leaders and declared herself Emperor of Britainium. She then gave more power to the Bankors and the Wizards of Finance, and crushed the Left in order to destroy it for ever. But she became even more power mad and would crush decent even from her followers on the Right so a plot was hatched and one day as she was playing a fiddle on the steps of the grand parliament a group of Senators ran up and stabbed Maggium Thatchosismad in the back.
Maggium Thatchosismad was confused and distraught, her dynasty that she thought would last a thousand years was over in a mere handful. She retired into obscurity and a new leader was elected called, I Major or I Claudius as his friends called him. The Wizards and Bankors rubbed their hands and bathed in the gold and wealth of Britainium until one day it all went horribly wrong and the Bankers had to say . . . . . . . . . AH DAMN; still I have always got my ceremonial golden hand, that’s worth a few pounds. . . .PHEW.
Then Maggium Thatchosismad died and the Right all said What a Great Leader, best we have ever had, forgetting that they had stabbed her in the first place, and the Left celebrated with bacon butty’s and threw the last lump of coal in Britainium at the grave of Maggium Thatchosismad.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Kipper Koolstone . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Kipper Koolstone

Life was not easy for Kipper Koolstone, because life as a black Irish American in New York meant he was always fighting the system and prejudice in order to be accepted.  And gentle Victorian Middle Class Society was all very prim and proper (or so it seemed) and something of a closed group so the arrival of a highly intelligent Black Irish American amongst them was more than some could cope with.  He was a brilliant if little known inventor and his Koolstone Grapple Gate is used to this day in the Llama farms of Chile where Mr Koolstone’s name is highly regarded. And a large (naked, for reasons explained later) statue of Kipper Koolstone still stands in the main square in Santiago, hand raised holding a large Armadillo.  Interestingly it is thought to be one of the world’s most photographed statues.

When Kipper Koolstone announced that he had finally invented a perpetual motion machine which he called the Koolstone Kinetic Keeper he was surprised and down heartened that there was very little interest shown. The problem being that the science world was jealous, and as a black Irish American few were going to acknowledge his great achievement. In the end pure frustration led to him being photographed naked with his invention, as he hoped that folk would finally sit up and take notice, particularly the press.  Well it certainly worked and the world of science finally admitted that it was one of the biggest things they had seen in years, all those parts rotating and swinging about as they did.

However the world is a fickle place and Kipper Koolstone found that he had become an overnight photographic sensation and he was in constant demand as a photographic model across the world. This meant he had little time for inventing and his Koolstone Kinetic Keeper is now in the depths of the Science Museum in London (dusty), but is said to be still operating. As for Kipper Koolstone himself, he retired to a small South Pacific island keeping a few llamas and making the odd guest appearance in What the Butler Saw Machines for old time’s sake. 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Jasper James . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Jasper James

Having made his name as a prize-fighter in the darker corners of Victorian England, Jasper James knew that he needed to retire when he was beaten by the son of Benny (Grizzly) Knuckle-bender, who was the man he originally won the prestigious Shorthill Belt from many years earlier.  And he was certainly not someone you would expect to invent a device such as the James Juxtaposing Jumbling Machine.  It was the very first mechanical device to use a sliding integrated diminished scissor action to create a self selecting binary IF switch. And that alone meant that among his peers in the world of Victorian inventors he was looked upon with much reverence and admiration.

Unfortunately Jasper James never appeared to entirely understand his own invention or the simple paradox that its design signified to the great minds of the time. And a curious reporter from The Times Newspaper discovered that the James Juxtaposing Jumbling Machine was in fact invented by a school boy who wanted to become a great boxing legend. And it turned out Jasper James tricked him into handing over his device which he had made as a fourth year school project in metalwork.

Sadly the young school boy was a terrible boxer and had to settle for a life of science at Oxford University. As for Jasper James after the news that he did not actually invent his own invention he became a pet shop owner and spent the rest of his days breeding goldfish. . 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Igor Ivanovich . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Igor Ivanovich

Having learnt his trade as a set builder in the Bolshoi Ballet Igor Ivanovich was an expert at making a swan out of a roll of gaffer tape some old boxes and an old bicycle dragged out of the canal. And he probably would have never become an inventor had it not been for his fool hardy attempt at smuggling a set of the Barometric Bellows past the Russian customs after a tour by the Bolshoi Ballet in Britain. But he was forced to find new employment and adapted his many skills to producing sophisticated mechanical devices that appealed to the wealthy elite of Europe. As he often said . . . I hate the common man with his flat cap, football and meat pies laughing and singing in their ale houses. Yes sadly Igor Ivanovich was a bit of an elitist snob.

But he could make wonderful mechanical birds and insects which became known as  Ivanovich Intrigues and although not a practical invention they were much admired by Elizabeth Romanova who kept a large collection of Ivanovich Intrigues at her palace in Russia. For a time he was quite a celebrity, but one day as he walked to his workshop he took a short cut through one of the poorer parts of Saint Petersburg. Where he was recognized by a group of young street urchins who were keen to see one of his mechanical wonders.  However Igor Ivanovich looked at the children and stated that no device of his should ever to shown to horrid small street urchins and he demanded that they hid their heads in shame.  Unfortunately a large crowd of football supports eating meat pies and singing and laughing had just left the local ale house and overheard Igor Ivanovich’s words and it did not go down well.  When Igor Ivanovich recovered consciousness he found himself conscripted into the Russian navy for twenty five years. Sadly he never recovered from the hardship of navy life and spent his last few years locked in the Moscow State Lunatic Asylum (not one of the more enlightened hospitals of the day)  with an old bicycle wheel on his head convinced he was a penguin………… 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Harrison Horsechestnut Hutt . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Harrison Horsechestnut Hutt

Mr Hutt was a down to earth gritty northerner from a mining family that made good allowing Harrison Horsechestnut Hutt to go to university and get his degree in engineering. He was determined to do his bit and make the plight of the miner safer and a far better environment to work in. However the mine owners were difficult to deal with and would tut and shake their heads when anyone mentioned improving the mine environment as they just saw this as extra expense.  Even the miners where a sceptical bunch of workers who believed everyone was out to get them (generally true), and that anything mechanical or that had gears and moving bits was the work of the devil.

Eventually Mr Hutt managed to convince Mr Haggy Hatcher to use his invention the Hutt Hydraulic Hammer and even obtained a verbal agreement that no miners would lose their jobs. However after the incredible work of the Hutt Hydraulic Hammer, Mr Haggy Hatcher sacked almost his entire workforce much to the shock of  Harrison Horsechestnut Hutt who suddenly realized you cant trust mine owners. 

He decided that he needed to address the miners in person and do what he could to help as many were left destitute and starving. And after a brilliant speech and asking the miners for forgiveness at his naivety of trusting the notorious (he only discovered this too late) Mr Haggy Hatcher. The miners cheered and then threw him down the mine shaft, they did say it was nothing personal but were keen to stop any other inventors coming up with stuff that might ruin the plight of the working man.

To this day there is a rumour that Harrison Horsechestnut Hutt survived the fall as the mine lift had just started its decent and he did not fall that far.  But the miner (a Mr Skippy) who told of this then said that a strange green man with a battered and ripped shirt and mad hair carrying a Danister Detector led  Harrison Horsechestnut Hutt off deeper into the mine. So the story was dismissed as the ramblings of the working class. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Georgina Gramophone Goshwell . . . .

Georgina Gramophone Goshwell

Georgina Gramophone Goshwell is the first woman to be included on the list of The A to Z of Completely Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers. Mainly because for many years there was great uncertainty about which sex she was, a result of her large false handle bar moustache and tall stovepipe hat.

Georgina or as she was known at the time George, had worked with the right Honourable Arnold Alexander Axle Armstrong-Atlas in developing the Armstrong-Atlas Amplifying Alignment Armature.  However after a certain incident of which neither would talk about George (Georgina) developed her (his) own invention the Goshwell Ground Gauge which was used to measure subsidence in the ground. A device that was particularly useful to the Victorians as they loved to dig tunnels, leading to cracks in buildings and sinkholes.

And all would have been well had Georgina (George) not agreed to do the Victorian Gentleman Inventors naked Charity Calendar.  Strangely most of the Victorian gentleman inventors themselves were not worldly wise and did not notice that George (Georgina) was a woman with a large false handlebar moustache. But once they were informed they discredited her work and she was told that women can’t be inventors so that the royalties for her invention must be handed to a good cause. All the money was given to the Green Acres Retirement Home for Naval Officers and Georgina became a dancer at the Folie Bergere where she met Benjamin Braithwaite Browning helping him to refine the Barometric Bellows. 

In later life she was said to have moved to Hong Kong where she worked on tap dancing novelty clockwork toys that were able to escape from a locked toy box tied into a sack and sealed in a tank full of water with an unnamed associate of suspicious character.


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Ferdinand Fleabite . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Ferdinand Fleabite

A master locksmith and a man with a suspicious past, Ferdinand Fleabite suddenly came into money and rapidly became a well know figure at all the important parties, mixing with very cream of British society.  His invention was the now infamous Fleabite Fixer a device that allowed almost anyone to open even the most secure locks of the day.

It was a device that in the wrong hands would make it almost impossible to secure buildings or safes or anything that relied on a decent lock and key. However Ferdinand Fleabite was not a fool and knew that many large banks and organisations would pay large sums to avoid the device becoming readily available to a mass market. So he was able to make a deal that made him incredibly wealthy. But Mr Fleabite’s past meant he had friends that were keen to get hold of the Fleabite Fixer device and so Ferdinand Fleabite had several hundred of the devices made in Hong Kong which he sold in the small advertisements of the Exchange and Mart knowing that it was not read by the high fly bankers and businessmen of the time.

Unfortunately the authorities became suspicious when the Bank of England was easily broken into four times in a month and arrested Mr Fleabite for questioning. He escaped the very same night and fled to the United States where he slipped his Fleabite Fixer into the case of a young lad called Harry Houdini in order to get through customs.  It was only several years later when he accused Mr Houdini of using the Fleabite Fixer that he was recaptured by the authorities.  Although again he escaped the following evening and was thought to have fled to Hong Kong setting up a company making tap dancing novelty clockwork toys that were able to escape from a locked toy box tied into a sack and sealed in a tank full of water.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Edmond Eccles . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Edmond Eccles

Eccles was a dreamer an academic who spent his days in the British library, reading its vast array of books on the meaning of life. It was during one of his visits to the British Library that he met Esmeralda one of the library assistants.  However she said she could never be with a man who was a dreamer and would only marry a man with practical skills who could deal with all that IKEA furniture.  So to prove his worth Edmond Eccles invented the Eccles Environmental Elbow a device to reduce earthquake vibration in tall buildings and those new fangled iron railway bridges.

The device was a brilliant success and as an inventor Edmond Eccles was invited to join the Preposterous Club of Great Britain where he and His Bride to be met another inventor Mr Benjamin Braithwaite Browning where young Esmeralda unknown to Edmond Eccles had her head turned having been introduced to the Barometric Bellows.

It was only months later when the highly publicised court case of Mr Benjamin Braithwaite Browning and the socking revelations of the Barometric Bellows use by certain folk, that Esmeralda told Edmond that she had in fact used the bellows herself several times during visits to the Preposterous Club.  This was too much for Edmond Eccles and he bludgeoned Esmeralda to death with his own invention the Eccles Environmental Elbow; as he was led away by the police later he was heard to say Life has no meaning which was rather ironic as he had spent fifteen years reading about the meaning of life.

He was shown leniency by the judge who said, those Barometric Bellows are the work of the devil and he would have probably done the same thing so Edmond Eccles was sent to the colonies where he died in an earthquake after only a week of being there.  . . . . . . . . It’s a funny old world. 

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Dr Bruce Banner . . . . The A to Z of Slightly Strange Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers

Dr Bruce Banner 

Dr Bruce Banner was a noted explorer and a keen caver. And when he discovered the vast array of caves on (or under) Greenland decided that he would not only attempt to map the complex of caves but to go deeper underground than anyone had ever been before. In order to avoid the toxic gasses that originate from the many volcanoes, Dr Bruce Banner invented a sophisticated gas detection device which he simply called the Dr Banner Detector.  A simple hand held device that had a bulb which would flash with greater intensity as the gases increased in density.

The problem was, that Dr Bruce Banner had a terrible temper and would emerge from the caves covered in sulphur making him a yellowy green, his clothing ripped and his hair a wild mess, screaming and shouting at his assistants. Then on his attempt to go deeper than anyone else had before, one of the teams Banner Detectors failed and the team decided to return to the surface. However Dr Banner refused to go back and had a huge argument with the support team. When they were asked afterwards why Dr Bruce Banner carried on they said he had a terrible temper and refused to accept defeat and got into an incredible sulk when we said it was unsafe to continue. So he just headed into the depths on his own never to be seen again.

Only a handful of the Banner Detectors were ever made and the last one is in the Icelandic Museum of Mummified Whalers and Fishermen where they also have one of Dr Bruce Banner’s ripped and tattered shirts on display.