As we have seen, the 1851 Great Exhibition in London was a great opportunity to celebrate great British Minds. Folk came from all over the country – and indeed from across the world, to see the latest inventions – and one of the most popular exhibits was the Pilot Kite, designed by G.M. Gilbert.
Gilbert, who came from Ealing in London, created a carriage that was drawn by kites – rather large kites! He calculated that using kites around 5m wide could move a carriage containing 4 or 5 people – well at least on a windy day. Now think of how inspiring that must have seemed in a time when the only non-horse drawn vehicles were steam powered!
The Pilot Kite was just one of over 100,000 exhibits at the Exhibition. There were all manner of inventions, exhibits and curiosities on show inside the Crystal Palace.
A more modern Great Mind is Jane ni Dhulchaointigh.
From Ireland, Jane is the inventor of Sugru – an innovative mouldable glue that sticks to almost anything and turns into strong flexible rubber overnight.
It can form a strong bond with a huge range of different materials, including aluminium, steel, ceramics, glass, wood and other materials including some plastics and rubber.
It was invented for people looking to not only repair but improve the things they use every day.
Fixing things is very important if we want to use fewer of the earth’s resources but Jane also wanted people to enjoy the achievement of fixing things and to use Sugru to make changes to gadgets and objects, even toys, to make them work better for themselves.
From making modifications to customised handles on sports equipment to attaching watches onto wheelchairs and even adding shock-absorbing bumpers to digital gadgets so children can safely use them without worrying about damage!
It’s all about feeling empowered to make changes yourself, so you and the people around you can use things in a way that works for you.