Photo archive of wacky inventions

British inventions that failed to take off

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amphibious scooter

A bicycle with wings and a Land Rover that turns into a hovercraft are just a couple of British inventions that failed to take off - but there are many more.

An archive of weird and wacky innovations has been unearthed by an amateur historian as he trawled through a collection of images spanning the last 100 years.

Businessman Chris Hodge, from Chislehurst, south east London, has collected more than 250,000 images and is having them all digitally scanned and archived.

The eccentric inventions of years gone by include what appears to be an early version of a videophone, an amphibious Lambretta scooter, a Land Rover hovercraft and a bicycle with wings.

Other photographs include a portable hairdryer, a mini-submarine, a side-by-side tandem and a back-facing sidecar.

The collection, most of which has not been seen for several decades, also features photos of factories, military history, boats, motorsport, medical history, hobbies, rare trucks and cars.

Easyart.com, a website for posters and art prints, has begun to sell a selection of the images from Mr Hodge's Stilltime Collection.

Mr Hodge, 56, who has been collecting the images for over a decade, said: "These images are a captivating snapshot of a bygone era.

"It's wonderful to be able to reveal the often hidden world of our past. Some of these shots are the only record of their kind, showing how even the most simple things were done completely differently.

"It's a world of discovery and a unique insight into the way things were."

Gyr King, founding director of Easyart, said the collection is a "hidden gem of British social history".

He added: "The vast majority of these images have remained unseen for several decades and shine a light on the extraordinary inventions, machines, people, places and events in Britain's past."

The photos, taken from various British trade and business-to-business media titles including Motorcycle News, Speed & Power Magazine and Nursing Times, document Britons trying to invent the next big thing.

The 20 tonnes of original, Anglo-centric material is currently in a specially built, air-conditioned and atmospherically controlled containment unit in Greenwich, London.

Have a look at some of the inventions below

Wacky inventions

Wacky inventions


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