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James and Deirdre Dyson pushing Ballbarrows around a garden

Chapter Four

The Ballbarrow

  • When looking to promote the Ballbarrow, my bank manager put us in touch with the Codrington family who lived at the Dodington Estate near Bristol. The late eighteenth century house, designed by James Wyatt, was just down the road from where we were living at the time and was the perfect place for a photoshoot. One warm day in 1977, Deirdre pushed a Ballbarrow around the grounds for the camera. Little did we know, Dodington would become our family home 25 years later!

  • Deirdre with Emily and Jake in our garden at home in Acton Turville. We bought the house from the Badminton Estate in 1970.

  • Fun at home with Deirdre, Emily and Jake in a Ballbarrow in 1975 at my mother's home in Cley, Norfolk.

  • A Ballbarrow in France alongside a more antiquated wheelbarrow design. Jake testing the water here.

  • Local timber merchant, Hill Leigh, had a cyclone to keep the building clear of dust. This planted the seed of inspiration which would become the cyclonic vacuum cleaner.

  • Claire Harris, the daughter of a family friend on a beach in Provence with the Trolleyball, which we started selling in 1978. Unlike other boat-launching frames, the pneumatic ball design borrowed from Ballbarrow, allowed it to float and stop it sinking in the soft sand.

  • A Trolleyball in action.