To celebrate Edinburgh's Iirst International Festival 01 Science and Technology. The List turns the pages at time and discovers an abundance 01 usetul but hitherto neglected inventions.


In the days at the bustle. when it was tashionable tor women to have as much "pronounced amplitude" as possible. this device rendered the merely voguish lunctional too:


The Victorians and the Edwardians loved pedal-power. and consequently converted every means at transportto these lead-tree engines wheneverthey could. The tirst picture showsthe Zimer Boat. which did away with cars and had pedal-powered paddles instead:

The second depicts Lange‘s 1904 Improved Double Bicycle tor Looping the Loop in'circuses. Extremer usetul:

lnventors‘ obsessions at the end otthe nineteenth century included getting showers to llow constantly

a pull chain. which meant

that your hands weren‘tlree to wash with. Thisthird pedalling machine was one ' solution:

1880sawthis"improved swimming device“. ' invented by American WilliamA Richardson. Speed wasthe ambition. although the weight at swimming and double-pedals plus shaft must have created alew problems:

THE lIST withouthavingtoholdonto I

Unforgettable Media April Fools or Gowks (or Poissons d’avril)

1. The Spaghetti TreezThe oldestand greatest hoax was devised by Panorama in 1957. Richard Dimbleby told the story ol spaghetti lrom bud to Iully grown plant.

2. The Holyrood ParkGrand Prix: last yearThe Scotman‘s magazine intormed us that the roads

around Salisbury Crags

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This new "system 01 aero-Iocomotion" was praised tor being natural. Ten brown eaglestethered to a wire trame ensured that the aviator out~did Icarus. Cords tied to the birds were the method at steering:


Thistrightening-looking implement with bristles is Kautmann's Tongue-cleaner "tor suitable treatment ot the tongue 01 men and animals':


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Animals were subjected to otherlads and human whims. The protection at horses‘ heads against sunstroke was an abiding preoccupation tor inventors. lor straw hats were deemed ridiculous:

In 1903. William Noxon at Canada patented a new. improved "Cow-tail Holder' which "prevented the tail lrom being switched into the milker's lace or lrom brushing dirt into the

Vanity was rite in the early years ol this century and in the late years of the last. Turner's Appliance lor Curing "Double Chin‘ promised miracles:

No gentleman could be

seen without his moustache guard. which preserved the work oloiled art intact. and prevented unsightly


Friedinger's Improved Train . torLadies' Dresses orSkirts worked on a sweeping

broom basis. The bristles litted hems oil the ground. preventing the collection ot mud. puddles etc:


east coast. Untortunately the drill had accidentally bored into the earth‘s crust (itwas verythin atthat point) and the sea was draining into the hole.

4. Royal Weather: on April 1st1981. The Guardian described the latest technology in weather control. An air-crew was to take oltlrom Farnborough with new weather-altering equipmentwhich would guarantee good weathertor the Royal Wedding.

5. Freddie Laker: The Observercarried a story in 1979 that Freddie Laker had invented a way 01 miniaturizing people sothat he could Iit more olthem into hisjumbos.

6. Deconstruction: 1984 saw The Observer upto more tricks. Thistime Malcolm Bradbury delivered an essay on a new French philosopher Henri Mensong (French lorliar). 7. Ballachulish Bridge: The Dban Times ran a storyto the eltect that the bridge was to be made moveable. sothat it could swing round and span the route covered bythe Corran Ferry.

8. The Yokeless Eggs Joke: BBC BreaktastTimetook many in with the tale olthe new breed ol chicken which laid yolkless eggs. They cracked one into the panto prove their point.

9. San Serritte: The most notorious. lengthy and involved April Fool was invented bythe Guardian. The two imaginary San Serritte islands—Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse— were teatured. with lull reports on all aspects- political. touristic and geographical. All settlements were called altertype-laces and printing terms.

10. The Green Glitts at Dover: Nationwide reported on a national crisis. A virulent green algae was creeping up the lace olthe White Cliffs. and algae-lighters had been brought in to spray weed-killer all overthem.

The List 24 March—6 April 1989 3