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Brand: John Wade

The Ingenious Victorians

by John Wade

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Ingenious Victorians : Weird and Wonderful Ideas from the Age of Innovation

We all know that some of the greatest inventions came from the Victorian age, the successors of which are still with us today. But this book is not entirely about those. It's more about some of the weird and wonderful inventions, ideas and projects - some successful, others less so - that have largely been forgotten.

Where well-known inventions or design concepts are included, it is from a perspective not previously appreciated, with details of the ingenious technology and thinking that led to their introduction and success. Here you can read how Victorian innovators were responsible for: the world's largest glass structure; an electric railway with lines under the sea and a carriage on stilts 20 feet above the waves; a monster globe that visitors could enter to see the world's land masses, seas, mountains and valleys modelled on the interior; cameras disguised as bowler hats and many other everyday objects; the London Underground as a steam railway; safety coffins designed to prevent premature burial; unusual medical uses for electricity; the first traffic lights, which exploded a month after their erection in Westminster; and the birth and rapid rise to popularity of the cinema ...as well as many other ingenious inventions.

Staff Reviews

John Wade began his career as a junior reporter on local newspapers, working his way up to deputy editor. He was later editor of the magazine Photography and became a freelance writer thirty years ago. He has written and illustrated numerous articles for magazines in the UK, America and Australia and is author of more than thirty books published in the UK and US. The author states in the 'Introduction to an Era' that the book is based on an 'age of ingenuity, inventiveness and innovation that saw the birth of many of the concepts and inventions that are still with us today'. The book covers many of the well-known concepts of the Victorian age, as well as the more bizarre, that were developed in the UK and abroad. In the 280 pages of the book the author writes about concepts such as the Crystal Palace, as well as the more bizarre ideas such as the Daddy Long Legs railway that ran along the coast at Brighton. Also included are many ideas developed even if not completed in the Victorian age, for example the First Channel Tunnel and the Flying Machine. It is an easy-to-read well-researched book full of interesting detail and background information. The author writes about the process of thought, development and use of the many ideas of the time. The wide range of topics included in the book should encourage further interest for the reader new to the Victorian age. It would also suit the reader with some knowledge of the era and would like to know in more details about the ideas of the age. As the book is not in any chronological order it can be read from cover to cover or dipped into at any point. The front cover shows the Monster Globe and the Biggest Camera in the World - two of many Victorian concepts in the book. There is a bibliography and index with a list of the credits for the many pictures and illustrations included. Jean Cheshire Friends of The National Archives http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/get-involved/friends.htm Friends of The National Archives