A wry view of life for the world-weary

There Ain’t ‘Alf Some Clever Bastards – Part Twelve


Arthur Paul Pedrick (1918 – 1976)

The latest inductee into our Hall of Fame is Arthur Paul Pedrick who between 1962 and his death in 1976 filed 162 United Kingdom patents. Some people are cursed with an overactive imagination and come up with ideas which, as in Pedrick’s case, are centuries ahead of their time.

Little is known about our hero but he seems to have served during the Second World War as a temporary Engineer Lieutenant and from 1947 to 1961 worked for the Patent Office when he was sacked for alleged inefficiency. It was then he set about his career as an inventor.

His inventions were often if not always regarded as unworkable and none are known to have seen the light of day. Those of a charitable disposition would say he was ahead of his time, particularly in his concern to solve some of the major environmental problems. Those of an uncharitable disposition might conclude he was seriously unhinged. I will list a few of his inventions with their Patent references and leave it to you, dear reader, to decide.

For those of you who while away the hours on a golf course, one of the major problems you will encounter is controlling the spin of the golf ball. Step forward Pedrick with the answer to your problems. The ball (GB1121630) has flaps cut into its exterior which are normally held flush by magnets. If the ball has been mishit and is spinning, the centrifugal effect overcomes the magnetic force and the flaps project to overcome the spin. An additional feature is that the ball reflects radio waves to a homing device carried by the player making the ball easier to find if it disappears into the rough. Simple. Why did it not catch on?

Next up is his solution to solve the irrigation problems in the Australian outback (GB1047735). This is pure genius and involves pumping snow and ice balls from Antarctica. The snowballs accelerate under gravity from the Antarctic plateau some 10,000 feet high, reaching  a speed of some 500 miles per hour when they get to sea level. Using Coriolis force (no I don’t know what it is either) the balls are piped naturally using the Earth’s gravitation to the outback where they can be used as water.

For those of us who work in tall buildings a nightmare is the building catching fire and we cannot escape. Naturally, Pedrick had a solution for this (GB1453920). Rolled up fire curtains are fitted at roof-level. When the building catches fire, the curtains are released to envelope the sides of the building and extinguish the fire. The curtains were fitted with apertures allowing some air in to enable the occupants of the building to breathe.

And finally, his horse powered car (GB1405755). A horse was strapped to the back of the car with a feed box. To control the speed at which you travelled, the car’s accelerator pad varied the thrust that the poor horse had to exert to reach the feed box. To brake, the brake pedal was linked to the horse’s halter. The ignition switch gave the horse a mild electric shock to stimulate it into movement.

Whether mad or a genius, Pedrick is a truly worthy inductee into our Hall of Fame.


If you enjoyed this, why not try Fifty Clever Bastards by Martin Fone which is now available on Amazon in Kindle format and paperback. For details follow the link


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