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Chapter Five

The Coach House

  • This was a project between myself, Jeremy Fry and Lord Snowdon who championed the cause of the disabled, having contracted polio as a child. The chair had large wheels which we decided to place at a 45 degree angle. This meant it could navigate higher steps better than conventional, upright wheels.

  • The Wheelboat had four wheel drive and suspension. We experimented with having the paddle blades slope backwards on the wheels. This made the boat much quicker by allowing it to plane across the water. We really did stumble on something because when we filed the patent – we were not granted permission to commercialise the technology as it was deemed to be of military significance. This is my table top model, furnished with a miniature Rommel in the driving seat!

  • Testing the Wheelboat technology in the home-made test tank at the second Coach House, behind the Royal Crescent in Bath. We had a breakthrough when we found the wheel planed across the water with backwards facing paddles.

  • Posing for Japan's Car Styling magazine for their article on G-Force in 1985. My table top Wheelboat model to my right.

  • At work in Nishiazabu, Japan in 1985 redesigning the cleaner head of what would become the G-Force vacuum cleaner. I was grateful to the forward-thinking company Apex for putting G-Force into production. Pale pink, it became an instant design classic.

  • The Coach House at home. The upstairs was a simple office and the ground floor a machine shop. Whenever one of us called downstairs the answer on the phone would be 'Engine Room!'

  • In the 'machine shop' at the Coach House with a Kleeneze Rotork Cyclon.

  • A review of the Kleeneze Rotork Cyclon which was produced in 1983 and 1984. Sadly, Rotork, who had licensed my design, chose the wrong man to run the operation and it was not a commercial success. Only 550 were made.

  • At Sycamore House, our home, in 1986.