Sunday, 23 May 2010

- meanwhile on the other side of the village...

It all began with a tin of cat food, an empty coffee tin and a hairdryer. When air was forced between the two tins, the ensemble began to float on its own little cushion of air. Thus, through a combination of eccentricity and genius, Sir Christopher Cockerell invented the hovercraft, in a shed, in a boatyard, in Norfolk. For years afterwards, the invention was kept top secret, as the government wanted to explore its military potential. But on 11 June 1959, the SRN-1 was finally unveiled to the world's press, at the Saunders Roe boatyard at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
One spin-off of Sir Christopher Cockerell's invention has been the hover mower. Like its counterpart, it works on the principle of a cushion of air. The leading brand, Flymo, has a 40% share of the British lawnmower market. But although gardeners in the UK have adopted the hover technology in their millions, very few of the mowers are exported.
Brian Milligan for the BBC


Mick P said...

When I was a kid we used to go on holiday to Southsea, and two big hovercraft used to dock there (or nearby) and were perhaps used as passenger craft for the Isle of Wight crossing. This must have been about 1969/70, so still relatively early days for hovercraft, and they were the most impressive things I'd ever seen.

Sideburn Magazine said...

Sometime in the late 70s we went on a family holiday to France crossing the Channel by hovercraft. Noisy & surprisingly bumpy, but I remember being impressed when it skimmed straight off the water on to the concrete jetty. BP

Nik Codling said...

I sometimes use the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea for my commute. It is just awesome. Properly fast, and the way it bats across the water is simply fantastic.

The hovercraft regulars just sit there, accustomed to the crossing and perhaps not sharing my child-like enthusiasm, as I look around at people and want to scream "how cool is this?" as we whizz across.

If you're ever on the South coast just go across on a return for the experience. You won't regret it!

motorcycho said...

funny.. I used one of those last week!!!! REALLY! at a friends house... thats how he gets his lawn cut, people want to try out his Flymo so he starts it up and says "try it over there"