At one point, the Bowler hat was what defined the civil servants and bankers in London and throughout the UK. A little later on, it also became a status symbol of the American working man. The classic bowler hat was invented in 1849 by the brothers Thomas and William Bowler in London. The design was made to fulfill a contract that could protect gamekeepers from low hanging branches while on horseback. The hats needed to stay on without being knocked off like a top hat would at the time.
As for the initial hat design, however, it is believed that Edward Coke, who was the younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Leicester, designed the hat. In this story, Coke went into the hat shop to pick up his new design. Upon receiving it, he stomped on it twice to see how strong it could be. It passed the test and eventually the Bowler hat became the most popular hat of the American West.
Neither Coke nor the Bowler brothers are on record for any other notable inventions or ideas, so let’s look at some of the best inventions that have come out of London.
1. Scotch Eggs
Who doesn’t love the idea of having an egg that is inside sausage that has been deep fried and breaded. According to tradition, a grocer in London in 1738 was inspired by a collection of Russian dolls to create this snack. Contrary to some beliefs, the name comes from the province where the beef was used, not from Scotland itself.
2. Coin Operated Toilets
London is also responsible for the first public pay toilets that were placed in the city. Invented by John Nevil Maskelyne, the lock on the loo doors could be opened when a coin was placed into the mechanism. The initial cost was a penny and you can still find pay toilets in areas where high vandalism rates exist, but thankfully this idea has been flushed away over the years.
3. The Subway
Although subways in London are the “Tube,” London’s first underground trains began transporting people across the city in 1863 with the establishment of the Manhattan line. It ran for nearly 4 miles, connecting Farringdon and Paddington. One might also say that overcrowded, smelly, and delayed trains are also part of the charm that London has brought the world.
4. Ping Pong
John Jaque III invented table tennis in 1901 and it instantly became a crazy pastime in London on numerous dining tables. Of course this “sport” has made it into the Olympics and the game rooms of many families around the world. Calling in “Wiff Waff” is still a good way to get serious table tennis players upset with you as well.
The world’s first ATM was placed outside of a Barclay’s in Enfield. It was 1967 and the inventor, John Shepherd-Barron, often referred to his money dispensing machine as a “genius contraption.” Inspired by the local chocolate vending machines, banks now have a marvelous way of being able to take even more of your hard-earned cash by charging withdrawal and balance checking fees with every use.
Strong proponent of individual liberty and free speech. My goal is to present information that expands our awareness of crucial issues and exposes the manufactured illusion of freedom that we are sold in America. Question everything because nothing is what it seems.