Keith Wells (Inventor)

Philthechill
27th October 2007, 09:04
Does anyone remember Keith?
He was quite a character and we, on "Maipura", didn't quite know what to make of him coming, as he did, from Cunard.
He quickly earned the nickname of "Torchy (the battery-boy)", from the childrens TV programme of the time, as he always carried his torch with him. When we arrived in Cal he decided that he would further Soviet-British relations by going aboard a Russian ship, which was tied-up astern of us. He was several sheets to the wind when he opted to carry-out this exercise but, before he went on board, he got decked-out in clean whites, shoes (white deck), hose (long white) and his Cunard-badged cap. We all confidentally predicted that the sight of Keith, going up the Russkie's gangway, was the last anyone would ever see of him as he would be arrested, clapped in irons and shipped-off to Siberia.
A couple of hours later an even more inebriated Keith appeared back on board clutching all kinds of Communist propaganda which had been handed him by the Commissar and swearing that the Russians were the best people in the world!!!
At the end of the trip Keith paid-off and went God-knows where.
I next bumped into him on "Atlantic Conveyor" where he was "bag-man" 2/E. He knew the "Moore Products" pneumatic engine-room automation up, down and sideways and, one of his favourite party-pieces, whenever there would be visitors aboard, would be to bring them down to the Control Room, show them the intricacies of the systems and then, with a flurry of fingers, he would demonstrate how the Master Controller could be taken out of "Cascade" mode, into "Manual", and then back again. He would then ask the innocent visitor, "Do you think you could do it?" and then, before they could answer, he would take the system out of "Cascade" and say "Right it's all yours!"
Naturally they hadn't the faintest idea of what to do so Keith would once again demonstrate and, once again, leave them to try sort it out. All the time he was doing it he would be laughing and giggling away to himself until, eventually tiring of his game, he would abruptly say, "Right let's go back!" and take his impressed (?) guests back to the bar! Apropos of this soupcon of memories of the procedure of going from "Manual" into "Cascade" I reckon, 30 years on, I could still do it! (he said modestly!)
However one of the little-known facts about Keith was that he was the bloke who invented the locking-wheel nuts you see on every car these days.
He'd developed, manufactured and patented the idea at quite considerable cost and, knowing he was onto a winner tried to sell it to car manufacturers, car accesory manufacturers, you name it, Keith tried to sell them the idea.
Every one turned him down.
Eventually he just couldn't afford the huge costs of keeping his patent alive and had to let it lapse.
Shortly afterwards the first "locking-wheel-nuts" appeared on the market as accessories but now, of course, all car makers fit them as standard.
There's no doubt that if there had been "The Dragons Den"-type programme available, then, and Keith had gone on it with his "locking-wheel nuts" (although I think he called them "anti-theft nuts" or similar) he would now be a very wealthy man.
A shame he was ripped-off but that's big business for you. Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

Philthechill
5th November 2007, 22:20
Does anyone remember Keith?
He was quite a character and we, on "Maipura", didn't quite know what to make of him coming, as he did, from Cunard.
He quickly earned the nickname of "Torchy (the battery-boy)", from the childrens TV programme of the time, as he always carried his torch with him. When we arrived in Cal he decided that he would further Soviet-British relations by going aboard a Russian ship, which was tied-up astern of us. He was several sheets to the wind when he opted to carry-out this exercise but, before he went on board, he got decked-out in clean whites, shoes (white deck), hose (long white) and his Cunard-badged cap. We all confidentally predicted that the sight of Keith, going up the Russkie's gangway, was the last anyone would ever see of him as he would be arrested, clapped in irons and shipped-off to Siberia.
A couple of hours later an even more inebriated Keith appeared back on board clutching all kinds of Communist propaganda which had been handed him by the Commissar and swearing that the Russians were the best people in the world!!!
At the end of the trip Keith paid-off and went God-knows where.
I next bumped into him on "Atlantic Conveyor" where he was "bag-man" 2/E. He knew the "Moore Products" pneumatic engine-room automation up, down and sideways and, one of his favourite party-pieces, whenever there would be visitors aboard, would be to bring them down to the Control Room, show them the intricacies of the systems and then, with a flurry of fingers, he would demonstrate how the Master Controller could be taken out of "Cascade" mode, into "Manual", and then back again. He would then ask the innocent visitor, "Do you think you could do it?" and then, before they could answer, he would take the system out of "Cascade" and say "Right it's all yours!"
Naturally they hadn't the faintest idea of what to do so Keith would once again demonstrate and, once again, leave them to try sort it out. All the time he was doing it he would be laughing and giggling away to himself until, eventually tiring of his game, he would abruptly say, "Right let's go back!" and take his impressed (?) guests back to the bar! Apropos of this soupcon of memories of the procedure of going from "Manual" into "Cascade" I reckon, 30 years on, I could still do it! (he said modestly!)
However one of the little-known facts about Keith was that he was the bloke who invented the locking-wheel nuts you see on every car these days.
He'd developed, manufactured and patented the idea at quite considerable cost and, knowing he was onto a winner tried to sell it to car manufacturers, car accesory manufacturers, you name it, Keith tried to sell them the idea.
Every one turned him down.
Eventually he just couldn't afford the huge costs of keeping his patent alive and had to let it lapse.
Shortly afterwards the first "locking-wheel-nuts" appeared on the market as accessories but now, of course, all car makers fit them as standard.
There's no doubt that if there had been "The Dragons Den"-type programme available, then, and Keith had gone on it with his "locking-wheel nuts" (although I think he called them "anti-theft nuts" or similar) he would now be a very wealthy man.
A shame he was ripped-off but that's big business for you. Salaams, Phil(Hippy) Poor old Keith! It appears I'm the only one to remember him! A shame because he was a good bloke really! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

John Ringrose
19th June 2008, 14:17
When would Keith have left the ACL boats. I'm sure I remember his name but I wasn't on them until about 1976

Philthechill
19th June 2008, 15:57
When would Keith have left the ACL boats. I'm sure I remember his name but I wasn't on them until about 1976
John! I'm afraid I can't help on that one but I'm sure Keith left long before 1976. In fact, if memory is correct, I think Keith left the ACL ships quite early on as I don't seem to recall sailing with him all that many times. The 2/E's I remember mostly were:- Tony Dick, Mick Connelly and "Black" Willie Angus. Keith may well have been permanent "bag-man" so I wouldn't have seen all that much of him because, as you will remember, once your relief was aboard you never used to hang around, engaging in idle chit-chat! You'd be down to the stern-door, commandeer the first taxi you saw and heading for Lime Street Station before your relief had even put his bag down!! Salaams, Phil,(Hippy)