London patents

London History Day falls on May 31st each year marking the anniversary of the day the renowned clock, Big Ben, located at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, first started keeping time in 1959. This year, Minesoft is joining in the celebration of the city of London for its resilience, spirit and creativity by highlighting some historical patents from London based inventors. Each invention is significant to London’s overall culture. 

EP0163507A2 – Fare Collection System for the London Underground 

This invention application was originally filed in the UK in 1984. It introduces an automatic ticket reader connected to a station computer, and fare collection and processing system for tickets with a magnetic strip (like in the London Underground’s Oyster cards or reading bankcards for automated payment on entry).  

London Underground Patent

GB189420360A – Improvements in Check or Coin-freed Locks or Bolts for Doors 

John Maskelyn invented coin-operated locks which were subsequently used for public toilets in London. This invention effectively coined (pardon the pun) the euphemism “spend a penny”. This publication dates back to 1894! 

Coin-operated lock patent

GB190117433A – Improvements relating to the Extraction of Dust from Carpets and other Materials 

The first vacuum cleaner as we know it today was invented by Hubert Cecil Booth. The story behind it started in London’s Empire Music Hall where Booth witnessed a presentation by another inventor who demonstrated a cleaning device which blew air out to displace dust. This inspired Booth to create a more effective device which sucked in dust through a filter and collected it. His patent was published in 1902.  

For a few years, the vacuum cleaning device was affordable only to the rich. Booth’s clientele included royalty, politicians and wealthy businesses. In 1908, William Hoover got word of the device and started developing smaller vacuum cleaning devices for domestic use. In the UK, “Hoover” became a by-word for vacuum cleaner. A nice UK twist on this is that today, it is often referred to as a “Dyson as well, a nod to the bagless vacuum cleaners invented by Brit James Dyson, that have caught on all over the world.   

 First Vacuum Cleaner Patent

GB728676A – Improvements in or relating to electrically-heated containers for beverages 

Peter Hobbsthe co-founder of Russell Hobbs, invented the automatic electric kettle that many Brits use today for preparing tea or coffeeBefore this invention from 1952, tea kettles had to be watched (or listened for) to know when the boiling water was done. With Hobbs’ invention, kettles can be left to boil water and reliably switch off at exactly the right time. At the time of this patent’s application, he was working in the newly established Russell Hobbs office in South-West London. 

First Automatic Kettle Patent

During this strange Covid time, here at Minesoft, we are grateful to be able to celebrate our home city. In the trying past months, we have witnessed some heart-warming acts of bravery from medical staff and comradery from the people of London while this most vibrant world city is in lockdown. We see similar scenes across the world and send our best wishes to all.  Wishing you all a peaceful cuppa tea! 

All of the patents in this article were found using PatBaseour global patent database. To see the full patent documents and information on PatBase click here to access the shared folder: 

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