Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cat's Eye Reflections

Sad news about the cat's-eye reflector. This was one of those great British inventions hit upon by chance by a gifted amateur with a bright idea - which used to be the British way, and perhaps still is. It's gloriously simple, has lasted for more than 70 years - and will surely last a great deal longer, at least on minor roads - and it must have saved thousands of lives. Its inventor, the great Yorkshireman Percy Shaw, offered various accounts of what gave him his idea - but he felt the need for such an invention expecially acutely as he was in the habit of going out for 'a few beers' of an evening and was fed up with veering off the road on the way home. And so the rolling English drunkard made the safer English road.

8 comments:

  1. Sad Nige, if it weren't for the fact that its replacement is also 'a great British inventions hit upon by chance by a gifted amateur with a bright idea'. This guy's going to make a fortune.

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  2. Ah yes, that's very true... Judy says Hi by the way. I left her sitting up in bed with a box of Krispy Kremes and a pot of tea. She seemed happy.

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  3. "Necessity is the mother of invention." I'm not surprised Shaw's the dude who invented the cat's eye.

    I happen to live in the city where one man invented: lending libraries, fire departments, local militias, public vaccinations, and I don't know what else -- though the historians could tell you.

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  4. And so the rolling English drunkard made the safer English road.

    As serious students of the Empire well know, the rolling English drunkard made the whole world safer.

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  6. Nige, you're clearly a lover and a thinker.

    If Judy's busy, do you mind popping around? And bring your feather boa. I can't stop thinking about your legs.

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