Thursday, October 2, 2008

Earlier this week I went to a sneak preview of the film Flash of Genius, starring Greg Kinnear. It is the story of the man who invented the intermittent windshield wiper in his basement. The major U.S. auto companies had been working on the idea, without success, for many years. He took his design to the Ford Motor Company, which was extremely interested, but they convinced him they needed a "working unit", plus all his notes, in order to get governmental safety approval. Once Ford had all the information to begin manufacturing the product, they convinced the inventor that they were no longer interested. That began a decades long battle by Bob Kearns, the inventor, to get Ford to acknowledge that they stole his idea. There were predictable ups and downs before we got to the typical Hollywood ending. The film reminded me a great deal of A Beautiful Mind.

How, you may be thinking, does this relate to my British obsession? I'm glad you asked. Guess, just guess, what the theater had in the bathroom (no need to be gross, it's good, I promise you)? Big fanfare: A Dyson Airblade Hand Dryer! Oh, the joy and amazement that little gadget caused me! It was invented by the British genius Sir James Dyson, so I got my Brit fix after all! The machine is really amazing. After washing your hands, you simply stick them in the machine (no need to touch potentially germy buttons), and slowly pull them out. You can actually see the water pooling in the bottom of the unit as it is rolled off your hands. When you pull your hands out, not only are the absolutely, completely dry, but they are also very soft. It was all I could do to pull myself away from the dryer to go to the film! Other hand dryer manufacturers and paper towel makers should be very, very afraid right about now.

The future of hand drying technology!

Final Verdict for Flash of Genius: Two Gherkins, for being an enjoyable, if predictable, story of how one man took on big business

Final Verdict for the Dyson Airblade Hand Dryer: Five Gherkins, for being a wonderful and practical addition to modern life!


About Me

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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The Gherkin Scale

5gherkinsb Brilliant!

4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

0gherkins3Don't be givin' me evils!

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