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Chapter Five

The Coach House

James Dyson seated in front of a technical drawing board
  • A large wheeled wheelchair

    Wheelchair 1980's

    This was a project between myself, Jeremy Fry and Lord Snowdon who championed the cause of the disabled, having contracted polio as a child. The chair had large wheels which we decided to place at a 45 degree angle. This meant it could navigate higher steps better than conventional, upright wheels.

  • Tabletop model of the Wheelboat, with a miniature Rommel in the driving seat


    The Wheelboat had four wheel drive and suspension. We experimented with having the paddle blades slope backwards on the wheels. This made the boat much quicker by allowing it to plane across the water. We really did stumble on something because when we filed the patent – we were not granted permission to commercialise the technology as it was deemed to be of military significance. This is my table top model, furnished with a miniature Rommel in the driving seat!

  • Wheelboat mechanics being tested in a water tank


    Testing the Wheelboat technology in the home-made test tank at the second Coach House, behind the Royal Crescent in Bath. We had a breakthrough when we found the wheel planed across the water with backwards facing paddles.

  • James Dyson working in front of desktop computer in Japan

    Japan 1985

    Posing for Japan's Car Styling magazine for their article on G-Force in 1985. My table top Wheelboat model to my right.

  • James Dyson seated in front of a technical drawing board

    Drawing Board

    At work in Nishiazabu, Japan in 1985 redesigning the cleaner head of what would become the G-Force vacuum cleaner. I was grateful to the forward-thinking company Apex for putting G-Force into production. Pale pink, it became an instant design classic.

  • Interior view of the office in The Coach House

    Coach House office

    The Coach House at home. The upstairs was a simple office and the ground floor a machine shop. Whenever one of us called downstairs the answer on the phone would be 'Engine Room!'

  • James Dyson standing next to a Kleeneze Rotork Cyclon

    Machine shop

    In the 'machine shop' at the Coach House with a Kleeneze Rotork Cyclon.

  • Press clipping with a review of the Kleeneze Rotork Cyclon

    Kleeneze Rotork Cyclon 1980's

    A review of the Kleeneze Rotork Cyclon which was produced in 1983 and 1984. Sadly, Rotork, who had licensed my design, chose the wrong man to run the operation and it was not a commercial success. Only 550 were made.

  • James Dyson crouching next to a G-Force


    At Sycamore House, our home, in 1986.