Inventors Imperfect

Adam Hart-Davies explores the stories of flawed geniuses.


0101Winstanley's Wonders1999061420061107 (BBC7)

He discovers how the 17th-century showman and illusionist Henry Winstanley undertook the impossible - the building of the lighthouse on the treacherous Eddystone Reef.

Adam Hart-davis assesses the lives and work of great inventors.

He discovers how Henry Winstanley built the first lighthouse on Eddystone Reef.

0102The Ironmonger Of Dartmouth19990621

As the man who invented the first useful steam engine, Thomas Newcomen should be a household name.

So why is he not more famous?

0103Steam Mill Mad19990628

James Watt is world famous, but for all the wrong reasons.

0104 LASTThe Clergy And The Earth Closet1999070520061114 (BBC7)

The Rev Henry Moule's passionate development of the earth closet during his troublesome PARISh life in 19th-century Dorset.

Adam Hart-davis examines the lives and work of four great inventors.

This edition looks at the Rev Henry Moule's development of the earth closet.

0201The Flying Man Of Chard20000424

Victorian pioneer John Stringfellow, who made the first powered flight in the Somerset town of Chard, some 50 years before the Wright brothers.

0202Henry Bessemer20000501

invented the Bessemer converter, a system for refining steel from pig iron which enabled output to increase six thousandfold.

The money he made provided him with the capital to design a ship which prevented seasickness - with catastrophic and embarrassing results.

0203Catch Me Who Can20000508

From mining in Cornwall to silver prospecting, Richard Trevithick was a gifted and daring engineer.

Inventor of the first steam locomotive and the high-pressure steam engine, Trevithick never made money, but his genius was ahead of his time.

0204 LASTMaking Radio Waves20000515

Adam helps Radio 4 newsreader Patrick Muirhead discover the role played by Patrick's great uncle Alexander in the invention of wireless telegraphy in 1894, well over a year before Marconi demonstrated his system on Salisbury Plain.

0301The bill Gates Of The 19th Century20010423

A hard man who often took credit for others' work, George Stephenson was a workaholic obsessed with steam locomotives.

He also liked wrestling and growing straight cucumbers.

Does Stephenson deserve his reputation as the father of the railways?

0302Savage's Bottom20010430

Adam Hart-davis explores the stories of flawed geniuses.

He uncovers the life of ingenious Victorian fairground engineer Frederick Savage.

Along the way, he meets 22 mayors, survives a ride on the last remaining gondola roundabout and explains the mysteries of Savage's Bottom.

0303The Best Philosopher In America20010507

Adam Hart-davis explores the stories of flawed geniuses.

Benjamin Franklin may have been one of the founding fathers of the UNITED STATES, but he spent 16 years living in LONDON.

And his insatiable curiosity led him to research such diverse subjects as electricity, lenses and music.

0304A Real Bramah20010514

Adam Hart-davis explores the stories of flawed geniuses.

He profiles one of Britain's most talented and colourful inventors, Joseph Bramah.

From 1778, all the best people installed his unpickable locks and Bramah lavatories, and his name was synonymous with fine workmanship.

0305The Master Of Mass Production20010521

Adam Hart-davis explores the stories of flawed geniuses.

He profiles 18th-century inventor Richard Arkwright, whose water-powered spinning machines turned a skilled profession into child's play and put entire families to work in purpose-built factories for the first time.

0306 LASTTo The Green Fields Beyond20010528

Adam Hart-davis explores the stories of flawed geniuses.

He profiles William Triton, who invented the tank for use in WWI.

The Lincoln-based engineer drew on his experience in agricultural machinery to invent a fighting machine which could negotiate with the battlefields of FRANCE.

0401The Enchantress Of Numbers20020812

Ada Lovelace was the first person to foresee a world in which machines could calculate.

0402Mrs Coade's Stone20020819

Eleanor Coade's artificial stone attracted the best architects and sculptors of the day.

0403A Modest Man Of Digits20020826

George Boole left a legacy which played a major role in the development of computers.

0404 LASTThe Government Scientist20020902

Joseph Banks kept a grip on English scientific endeavours for 40 years.

0501James Ferguson20031022

Adam Hart-davis begins a new series of the programme that explores the lives of extraordinary scientists, inventors and innovators.

He began as a lowly shepherd boy tending his flock and gazing at the stars, but the young Ferguson rose to become a famous teacher, astronomer and populariser of his science.

Adam discovers how Ferguson's fascination with wheels and gears led him to produce globes, astronomical clocks, mechanical cranes; all the time keeping body and soul together by painting miniature portraits of the great and the good.

0502Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek20031029

Delft draper Antoni van Leeuwenhoek's pioneering work with microscopes reflects his status as the father of modern microbiology.

0503Dorothy Hodgkin20031105

Adam Hart-Davis explores the life and work of a Nobel Prize-winning British scientist who studied the molecules that make life possible, worked tirelessly for world peace, and taught undergraduate chemistry to a young Margaret Thatcher.

0504 LASTSophie Germain20031112

Adam Hart-Davis explores the life of an 18th century French woman who, inspired by Archimedes to study mathematics, pretended to be a man in order to pursue her greatest passion - finding a proof for Fermat's Last Theorem.