Thursday, 17 September 2009

Talk celebrates Swansea's "death ray" inventor

Expect new revelations about the extraordinary Clydach scientist who claimed to have invented a death ray that could stop an aeroplane engine and kill a man at Swansea Central library later this month.

Jonathan Foster, biographer of Harry Grindell Matthews, is guest speaker at local studies talk in the Discovery Room from 2pm on Saturday, September 19.

In his life time, Harry Grindell Matthews - who once lived near
Clydach and had a mountain laboratory overlooking Swansea - were so revolutionary and far-reaching that the British Government dismissed him as a fraudster and a crank.

But the man, who also had his own private runway and was blamed by locals for animals suddenly dying and car engines stopping for no reason, was possibly one of the greatest British inventors of the twentieth century.

He invented The Sky Projector which bears a remarkable likeness to The Bat Signal used by the Mayor of Gotham City to call the caped crusader - in fact, his method for projecting images onto clouds is used today in laser displays.

Had Mr Matthews lived, and been taken seriously, he'd probably have been credited as a scientist at the forefront of the development of everything from mobile phones and aerial defence systems to auto pilot technology and submarine detection equipment.

The book The Death Ray: The Secret Life of Harry Grindell Matthews by Jonathan Foster is based on new research using documents held in national archives and it includes many previously unseen photographs.

The Civic Centre-based West Glamorgan Archive Service also has a collection relating to Mr Matthews including a series of scrapbooks full of press cuttings and photographs.

Contact Library Line on 01792 636464 for more information on this talk or other events taking place in the near future.


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