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Lucy Huges and how she made MarinaTex

Hear more about this great British mind below!

William Jenkins was an inventor and manufacturer in Victorian times and one of his creations was showcased at the Great Exhibition in 1851 – a place where the latest innovations of the day were presented to the public.

Now William Jenkins must have loved to sail and he must have loved playing the piano because his invention was a folding piano, complete with a collapsible keyboard. It might sound like a very silly invention, but yacht pianos were actually very popular.

The clever design inspired the manufacture of other Yacht Pianos that were stocked in London department stores.

Remember the first record player wasn’t invented until 1877 so in 1851 musical instruments were an important source of entertainment – even at sea!

The fish on our supermarket shelves goes through a lot of different processes before we put it in our basket.

Lucy Hughes, who was studying product design at the University of Sussex, thought about all those waste materials in the fish processing industry that were just being thrown away.

Things like fish skins and scales. 

Over 170 thousand tonnes of the stuff each year. She could see that far from being rubbish, this waste had lots of very useful proteins that might make a very flexible material…

It took over a hundred experiments before she discovered that if she added an ingredient called agar, the proteins would bind together.

MarinaTex was created!

The new material she created behaves like plastic, but – and here’s the super clever part – biodegrades within 6 weeks. 

We all know how important it is to reduce our use of plastics and so you can see how marvellous this new material will be.  Well done Lucy!

MOBILE: Sir Sidney McSprocket's Amazing Inventions

Discover the incredible stories behind some world famous inventions in this podcast.

Sidney McSprocket’s How’s it Made, with support from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851.

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Fun Kids Learn

Discover something amazing! See what you can find...

More From Fun Kids Learn