Inventor of the thermostat controls for the cordless kettle visits Sibford
- 2 October 2018 -
John standing with Sibford students
Inventor’s motivational talk for students
John came to Sibford School to deliver a motivational talk for students. He holds many hundreds of patents for domestic appliances, thermostats and electrical equipment. John is probably most famous for inventing the thermostat controls for the cordless kettle. It’s been calculated that over two billion of his bi-metal blades have been produced since their invention in the 1970s. They’re used in thermostats to switch off kettles. John also holds four Queen’s Awards, three for Export and one for Innovation.
But, as he said in his motivational talk for students, it could have been a very different story. As a young lad, his parents struggled to find a school who would have him. This is because he failed the 11 plus, 13 plus and common entrance exam.
“I’m dyslexic,” explained the 81-year-old. “which meant I had to overcome a number of difficulties. However, I view that as a blessing as it prepares you to think around the difficulties you will go on to face in life.”
Having struggled to get into school, John went on to gain a place at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. After graduating, he joined his father’s company making thermostats.
“I found I could invent,” he told pupils. “My first job was to invent a control for an electric cooling fan for the new Jaguar E type. Since then I’ve filed over 400 patents.
“I’ve had a lot of fun over the years. I can go almost anywhere in the world and see an electric kettle knowing that inside it is one of my inventions.
John’s key message to students
“I never have regrets. My advice is to make a decision based on the information available at the time. Never go back and think ‘what if’, always go forwards. Many people walk around seeing … but I walk around looking. If you notice things you can do something about them. My challenge to you is to invent something, change the world and most importantly … have fun.”