Welcome to the world of Victorian product design, and the improbable inventions that never quite made it into production during Britain’s period as the workshop of the world. These genuine domestic and professional designs, registered in the 19th century for the most unlikely innovations, have been boxed away - until now - deep in the vaults of The National Archives.
Meticulous illustrations and descriptions accompany the boldest of claims for making daily life in a newly industrialized world that little bit easier. These truly are design solutions to the problems you never knew you had.
'A treasure trove of self-ventilating hats, boot warmers, hair-brushing machines and improved pickle forks … a unique insight into the world that spawned them'
'Irresistible … these inventions provide entertaining glimpses of the lives, hopes and fears of our nineteenth-century forebears'
'Patently daft … wonderfully wacky … bonkers'
'Hundreds of bizarre nineteenth-century designs … all laid out with skilful draughtsmanship and Heath Robinson-style eccentricity'
New Statesman (Picture Book of the Week)
'Inventors, however mad, must get things wrong if they are to get things right: a thousand Wallace and Gromits for every Brunel or James Dyson is a price worth paying'