Chairman’s Letter – January 2020

Looking at the products we use from day to day and the things that impact our lives, I got to thinking about how much innovation there had been in the last hundred years. By innovation I mean true, created from new, ideas. There have been many developments, things have evolved and become more sophisticated, functions have been combined, miniaturised and made more efficient. But truly new? Consider this list:

Internal combustion engine 1859
Highways (turnpike) 1752 or the Romans
Clock 1300
Central heating circa 1830 or 1300BC
Turbine (jet engine) 1827
Explosives 10th Century
Plastics 1907
Radio valve (transistor) 1904
Nuclear science 1895
Spectacles 1290
Pneumatic tyre 1845
Alcoholic drink 5400BC
Traffic lights 1912
Railways 1804 (engine powered)
Photography 1839
Glass 1500BC
Electric light 1878
Powered flight 1903
Computer 1872
Radio 1895
Battery 1800
Electric motor 1832

Perhaps one area where you might say that there has been true innovation in the last one hundred years would be medical science. There is a good chance that I would have not been writing this and many of you in no position to argue with it if it were not for medical innovations.

Happy New Year

Mike Sweeting