Monday, November 12, 2012


My books THE SUPPRESSION OF THE AUTOMOBILE and the paperback edition WHO REALLY INVENTED THE AUTOMOBILE? needs to be subjects for a blog. I start it off with an email received from an English reader.

On 26-Aug-12, at 10:11 PM, David Eustace wrote:

Dear Sir or Madam
I have just read with enthusiasm Mr Beasleys excellent book on this subject.This subject is close to my heart because I am a GGGGGrandson of the Steam Carriage Pioneer Walter Hancock 1799-1852 whom was arguably the Father of the Automobile.A biography of Walter Hancocks life was written by our cousin Francis James in 1975 and he recently co-Authored in 2009 a book on the lives of Walter Hancock and his older Brother Thomas Hancock the Father of the Rubber Industry in Britain and first to patent the vulcanization process in Britain, the first to scientifically describe vulcanization,and name the process. He was also the surviving controlling Partner of Chas. Mackintosh and Co. Mr Beasley may be interested in the remaining years of Walter Hancocks life after his contribution of 10 steam carriages between 1830 and 1840.

He and his Listed Artist Brother Charles Hancock 1802-1877 took the substance Gutta Percha that their Brother Thomas Hancock gave them when it first appeared in Britain and patented it`s use as an insulator. the two Brothers soon took copper wire,rubber, and invented an extrusion machine to cover copper telegraph wire into an impervious cable of copper, rubber and outer gutta percha, [an early polymer plastic] and this cable was laid across the English Channel and the basic design and machine to produce it [built by Walter Hancock and patented by his brother Charles].So although the Railway Barrons were able to suppress the automobile for 70 years Walters cotribution to communication continued on by this achievement until his death in 1852.

Yours Sincerely,
David Eustace

My reply:
Dear Mr Eustace, Thank you for communicating and narrating the Hancock family's contribution to communication. I am glad that you liked the book. As a compromise with the publisher I had to cut some of the manuscript [publishers hate to spend money on books which run over a certain number of pages] but I kept the paper book rights and issued a longer version in 1997 as Who Really Invented the Automobile? with more information on Serpollet's steam carriage and his financial backer the American Gardner.[Incidentally I discovered that Gardner made his fortune as a theatrical impresario when researching my book McKee Rankin and the Heyday of the American Theater]. In the footnote on Hancock I questioned James's motivation in discounting Gurney but assume he was just trying to blow Hancock's horn. Thanks for mentioning his 2009 book; I did know a bit about the Hancocks' rubber inventions. Sincerely, David Beasley

1 comment:

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