A special personal tribute to a good friend of Imagineering
Trevor Baylis, inventor of the clockwork radio and many other things, passed away on 5 March aged 80 of natural causes, having been ill for some time.
Imagineering first met Trevor Baylis in 2000 when he joined in the fun at the first Imagineering Fair at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, accompanied by his much-loved classic E-type Jaguar. He attracted crowds of admirers, talking about his clockwork radio, joining in activities with the children.
Subsequently the annual Midlands Imagineering Fair was a regular gig for Trevor for a number of years - and he never charged for his time. He would join the line-up of companies and colleges with his own stand, usually with his lovely Jaguar – which attracted its own admirers! He would talk to everyone about his BayGen Radio and how he came to develop it and many other projects too. He was always very encouraging and inspirational; generous with his time; fun, with a cheeky humour; full of stories and anecdotes.
He also judged the Imagineering Meccano Challenge competition with his old mate Michael Denny, assessing all the entries with constructive advice, acknowledging the good elements in all of them. (His first taste of engineering was through Meccano as a boy, encouraged by his father.) He never spoke down to the children and always let down the losers gently.
Trevor was guest of honour at the celebration of Imagineering’s 100th Imagineering Club in 2008 and spoke warmly and enthusiastically about the principle of the Clubs and the need to inspire the youngsters.
He had learnt the hard way about how easy it is for one’s ideas and inventions to be hijacked by unscrupulous companies and did his level best to do what he
could to ensure that that did not happen to anyone else. He set up a company, Trevor Baylis Brands, to advise inventors on patents, how to protect their inventions and bring them successfully to market. That will be one of his major legacies and much has been written elsewhere on his achievements and
the challenges he met.
Trevor may not have always received adequate financial reward he deserved but he did receive recognition for his achievements. He received honorary degrees and gold and silver medals from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was awarded the OBE in 1997 for his clockwork radio design and appointed CBE by the Queen for his services to intellectual property in 2015.
Speaking after this ceremony, Trevor said: “It is amazing how invention can change so many people’s lives, both socially and commercially, but we should take them seriously…….We are all inventors, irrespective, and it should be part of the national curriculum. I am pushing and pushing so that kids have a good chance to bring their ideas to market.” (The Mirror)
That is the spirit of Imagineering – for us he was the ultimate ‘imagineer’.
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