By Hollie Bone
A wacky inventor dubbed Britain’s most eccentric man has created four new devices to survive life in lockdown – including anti-social shoes, a PPE top hat and a social distancing drinks station.
Lyndon Yorke, from Marlow, Bucks, has been inventing mad designs since he was a schoolboy, describing himself as a ‘mechanical follyologist’ inspired by the whimsical works of illustrators W. Heath Robinson and Rowland Emett.
The former pilot, who now works part time as an aviation consultant, uses his day job to fund his real passion – putting together his bizarre and unusual ideas in his garden shed.
Inspired by current affairs, the sexagenarian is using his time in isolation to unveil new creations to help Brits adapt to the coronavirus pandemic – including a colander hat with two metre poles attached, a special occasion top hat the with 360 degree PPE plastic face shield and propeller to ‘blow away’ germs, and a socially distanced drinking station for friends to enjoy a tipple while remaining two metres apart.
Lyndon, 65, said: “Lockdown just seemed a good opportunity to come up with some new inventions.
“Everybody is very restricted and isolated at the moment, so I wanted to do something to put a light hearted slant on coronavirus that would serve a practical purpose as well.
“Top hats are very much part of my persona, so I thought something to wear for more formal coronavirus affairs – if there are such a thing – would be a bit of a laugh.
“It has a full 360 degree plastic face guard and a large propeller on top that blows away the air from your face, and in doing so any airborne germs which might be coming towards you.
“At the social distancing drinks station, the bar rotates so it can spin round and pass a drink or slide the bottle to your drinking partner, and of course the poles are exactly two metres apart so it complies with social distancing guidelines.
“It’s just for fun and I never sell anything I invent, but I do test the items out to make sure they are all fully functioning.
“They must actually work, otherwise I don’t get so much satisfaction out of it.”
After coming up with his latest inventions earlier this month, Lyndon asked friend and cartoonist, Stevyn Colgan, to put pen to paper, creating cartoon blueprints to bring his ideas to life.
Having amassed a collection of unusual items over the years, including vintage car parts and Victorian era paraphernalia, the inventor had most of what he needed to complete the new creations, and took just a couple of days each to produce fully-working models.
For the passionate innovator money is no object when it comes to his designs, as Lyndon admitted he doesn’t even count the cost of his materials as he is too focussed on achieving the end goal.
But the singleton confessed his bizarre and quirky inventions often turn the heads of his neighbours, who ‘tolerantly’ watch on in amazement as he brings his designs together.
Lyndon’s previous inventions include a Victorian bath chair which he has modified to be able to motor down the River Thames, a mechanical orchestra dubbed the Buskermatic, a wicker work car and aeroplane, and a propeller-driven tricycle.
In 2001 he was dubbed Britain’s most eccentric man and is officially member number one of the Eccentric Club, an institution founded for those who love the weird and wonderful in the 1890s.
He said: “Ever since I was in school I was coming up with creations and ideas. I like my things to amuse people.
“Inventing is my labour of love, it’s in my blood.
“My office is in the house, so I do two or three hours of real work in the morning and then spend the rest of the day playing around in my workshop.
Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to make until it is complete.
“I don’t actually count the cost of anything, the ideas override any financial aspect.
“The neighbours are somewhat bemused and bewildered – I think they think I’m this ‘wacko’ that makes things – but they are very tolerant and put up with everything that comes in and out of my gates.
“With some people, there is very little point explaining what eccentric humour is about.
“With me, what you see is what they get – it’s up to them to make their minds up what they think.”