Wallace and Gromit and the Patent Office are doing an invention competition for primary schools. I will be taking all the information into Mrs Trundle, the head-teacher and part-time assassin, tomorrow. Apparantly someone has already thought of a tiny ladder to let spiders climb out of the bath. Hmm, I say the drain is good enough for them. Grandpa Jack invented the horse-flap which is a bit like the cat-flap but bigger. He is mad on horses. The winning invention will be turned into a model for Aardman studios - Cool!
Talking of brilliant inventions, here's one - the TV remote control. Robert Adler was the fantastic inventor of the TV remote control. The Parents would probably say that this invention was one of the crimes against humanity because:
a. it makes watching the TV easier and so you watch even more of it than is good for you; in fact you watch it until you develope strange shaped eyes and all your brains are sucked out
b. it makes you lazier and fatter and unfit until one day you cannot move from the sofa to do anything, even when you lose the remote control through no fault of your own and have to endure hours of watching stuff you are not keen on, like The News and Gardening is Really Interesting or Schools Programme - Granny TimeTraveller reports from the Battle of Hastings
Anyway, Robert Adler would have said a and b were just silly because,
"It seems reasonable and rational to control the TV from where you normally sit and watch television."
Precisely. IF you have a choice of more than 4 channels that is - guess how many we have in our house. Imagine the huge strain involved in forever getting up and down to change the channels when (if you live in Dexter's house) you have 4 million channels to choose from. Nightmare.
In 1950 Zenith came up with the first TV remote called 'Lazy Bones'. It managed to change channels OK but was still attached to the TV by a cord. This was a bit mad because people kept tripping over it and breaking bits of themselves and their sitting rooms. So in 1955, Adler came up with the 'Flashmatic'. This had nothing attached to it and used photocells to flash at the TV. The problem was that when the sun came out it sort of stopped the light commands working. People complained that you could not watch TV in the daytime without having to get up with their legs and switch over by bending their bodies. So daytime TV did not really take off until a bit later after Robert Adler came up with the 'Space Command' remote, 'nothing between You and the Set but space!!!'
That is not to say that he spent his whole actual life inventing just the one gadget. Oh no. He worked for an American company called Zenith and actually made 180 new patents, mostly to do with TV, even though he did not even like the TV. He would have got on well with The Parents.
"I hardly ever turn the TV on," he said. His wife said he was "more of a reader."
I think that this could be because he just kept losing the remote control in the s p a c e between himself and the TV set. So it is left to me to invent the next greatest gadget -
'The Remote Control Detectormatic'