As a child, my ambition was to be an inventor. I suppose I adopted the idea from that wonderful steam radio series "Toytown" in which a character called "Mr Inventor" either solved or caused a minor disaster with some weird device of his own design. Unfortunately in those days before Lego went technical, there was not a lot of mechanical innovation to be had from a box of plastic or wooden bricks.
Then some understanding relative bought me a small Meccano set, and that started me on my way to understanding mechanics, dynamics, power/weight ratios, lattice and shell structures, levers, motors and reduction gearboxes. It also taught me how to analyse ideas and create my own.
I soon had a vast collection of Meccano stored in several tea-chests. The first thing I did with a new set was to throw away the box and instruction book and tip it in with the rest. I certainly wasn't going to build to another's designs or faff around with a stack of pretty boxes. I felt the need to innovate and have done every since.
- to be continued.