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Author Topic: Does Percy Shaw, the legendary inventor of Catseyes in the roads, still...  (Read 8525 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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Blast these too-short question spaces. Come back Lycos iQ, all is forgiven and we have found your dog! :-)

Full question...Does Percy Shaw, legendary inventor of Catseyes in the roads, still receive royalties for his ionvention?...

I know that he died at the ripe old age of 86 back in 1976...but catseyes are everywhere - they used to be down the middle of the road and made him a millionaire.

Now red ones and green ones are down the sides of roads too, which trebles his market. So lots of money rolling in?

Does his estate still receive royalties or do the estate market the cats' eyes and sell them themselves and trouser the dosh that way?

How much money has Percy Shaw's simply brilliant invention amassed since he invented them in 1933? They are now used all over the world so it must be more money than an average IA member spends on chocolate lunches in a month!

Is it still a family business?

How much has his invention earned over the years?

And does he have any nubile granddaughters?

For those too young to remember Percy Shaw...

http://www.designmuseum.org/design/percy-shaw

PS I remember seeing a tv documentary on Percy Shaw when I was about 12 and he lived in a relatively basic house (like the man himself) oop north, had four tellies in a row with the sound turned off in a room he'd carpeted with black rubber.

A wall of crates of brown ale was along one wall. Three sofas faced the tellies...and that was it as far as furnishings went.

The idea of all the tellies and the snazzy rubber matting was so that he could invite all his old mates back from the local pub, get zonked out of their skulls on endless brown ale, turn up the sound if anything interesting came on one of the bank of tellies...then he could simply hose down the living room after his mates had staggered off into the Yorkshire night.

Seems like my kinda man!



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« Last Edit: 21 August, 2017, 12:20:01 PM by P-Kasso2 »
"I live in hope"

Offline siasl

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The easy answer is "No".

The patent filed in 1933 would have expired in 1953 - so now anyone can make them if they like and not even give him passing credit for it, let alone pay his estate. Given the timing, the patent may not have generated all that much revenue, either.

I do like the rather cunning ones that use the receipt of headlights to power little LEDs in them, so you get a little trail of lights following you - quite handy as an early warning of creeping up on someone on a bendy road. I've not seen them actually deployed, though.
« Last Edit: 08 April, 2009, 11:40:12 AM by siasl »

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Very full answer Siasl - now what d'you know about his nubile granddaughters....
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Offline siasl

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mine - all mine, I tells ya.

Although if you stick a good recipe in the BBQ thread in the caf, I might let you have one or two (if Vultan doesn't snaffle the lot)

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I have a great Spicy Testererone Pie that Vultan might like to put in his pencil! ;D
"I live in hope"

Wumpus

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There are some of those LED catseyes on one of the accident-prone roads around us.
They've only put them on a few of the many bends though.

They're not actually headlight-powered, but solar powered. 
They charge up during the day, and light up at night.

I'm not sure just how much of a safety benefit they provide.
It's a big temptation to turn the car lights off just to see the catseyes lit up.
You quite often see people doing just that.

People still crash there.

Offline siasl

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One side note - the cats-eye is probably only one of numerous patents that are in that little device in the road. Chances are there are loads of patents on the housing of it in the road - issues such as repeatedly being run over by articulated lorries need to be dealt with. Not sure if those patents would still be valid - a search may bring them up as they should all refer to the cats eye patent

Clive805

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I recall that when I was a young boy in the '50s it was common knowledge that Percy Shaw was paid a farthing (1/4 of a British penny) for each catseye unit produced and installed on British roads.  Also, it was thought that this payment would continue indefinitely, to him and his future family successors.  However,  I assume that a later change in patent law would have nullified this

Offline siasl

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Seeing as Percy Shaw ran the manufacturing company (that still exists, although now needs to compete with other manufacturers of similar and upgraded products), potentially this is a little contractual note he inserted into the company books. But it's nowt to do with patent law - the Patent Law Amendment Act of 1852 set a duration of 14 years on a patent, for instance (not sure if it had been modified by the time Percy applied for his patents)

You can read the first page of his first patent here (will open a PDF). There are at least 3 others in that database from around that time.