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Inventor Trevor Baylis: I’ve wound up broke despite inventions.

By   17th February 2013.    Find Full Article Here:-

Trevor Baylis: I've wound up broke despite inventions

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

Inventor Trevor Baylis says he faces having to sell his house after failing to make money from his wind up radio and is now calling for the government to step into to protect inventors.

“I’ve got someone coming around in the next couple of weeks to do a valuation on my house,” says Trevor Baylis, as he walks into the sitting room of his home on Eel Pie Island, in Twickenham, south-west London.

“I’m going to have to sell it or remortgage it – I’m totally broke. I’m living in poverty here.”

His garden contains the shell of a classic car (Paul Grover)

Surely not? This is the man whose wind-up radio has sold in millions around the world, and was recently named among the 50 greatest inventions in British history.

The story of Baylis and the clockwork radio he developed in his garden shed in the early Nineties should be a shining example of how British ingenuity can lead to success.

On the walls of his house are nearly a dozen honorary degrees he has since received, a letter he was sent by the Prince of Wales on being awarded an OBE, and photographs of himself with Nelson Mandela.

But as the eccentric 75-year-old inventor shows off the compact home and chaotic workshop he built himself nearly 40 years ago, he grows remorseful.

Despite the apparent success of his wind-up radio and several follow-up products employing similar technology including a torch, a mobile phone charger and an MP3 player, Mr Baylis says he has received almost none of the profits.

Due to the quirks of patent law, the company he went into business with to manufacture his radios were able to tweak his original design, which used a spring to generate power, so that it charged a battery instead. This caused him to lose control over the product.

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