Trevor Baylis, the inventor of the wind-up radio is calling on young people to consider the so-called “oily rag” trade

British inventor: Trevor Baylis calls for schools to teach importance of invention

The inventor of the wind-up radio is calling on young people to consider the so-called “oily rag” trade. “Britain needs more engineers,” says Trevor Baylis.


Trevor Baylis in his garden, which overlooks the Thames Photo: PAUL GROVER

By Rebecca Burn-Callander

6:00AM BST 03 Sep 2013

“You don’t have to be a genius to be an inventor,” according to the serial entrepreneur and founder of Trevor Baylis Brands, which has helped over 9,000 inventors bring products to market. “I don’t wake up every morning thinking, ‘I’m going to invent something today’.” Mr Baylis OBE, 76, developed the world’s first wind-up radio in the early nineties. More recently, he has invented a mobile phone that is charged by a special pair of shoes as you walk. “Unfortunately, people are a bit nervous of the shoes because they look a bit like a bomb,” he admits.He has also developed a self-weighing briefcase – “perfect for those Ryanair trips where you don’t want to pay a fine for being half a kilo over” – and about 250 products for disabled people.

“I used to be a stunt man in the circus,” he explains. “I was in love with an aerial ballet dancer who fell off a rope and was crushed. It was then that I knew disability was only a banana skin away.”

Innovation, according to Mr Baylis, is key to the future prosperity of the UK.

A fact that is being largely ignored by Government and the education policy makers.

“Kids today need to put down their mobile phones and start tinkering,” he says. “Schools just aren’t teaching them enough about the importance of invention. Kids are so computer and mobile obsessed these days that they don’t know how to drive a nail into a piece of wood.

“You should know how to light a fire and build a tent by the age of 10. Instead, kids are becoming obese by spending all their time in front of screens, large and small.”

Mr Baylis has called on education groups to start championing the achievements of inventors across the ages.

“I bet most people have never heard of Frank Whittle, the 21-year old who invented the jet engine, or Stephanie Kwolek, the chemist who invented Kevlar in 1965,” he says.

“If I had my way I would make it mandatory for every school to have a framed picture of an inventor and teach the children about their invention. You don’t have to have a Viennese accent and broken glasses to be an inventor.”

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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