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Trevor Baylis and four other inventors who didn't get rich from their creations

Trevor Baylis, the inventor of the wind-up radio, died on Monday, 26 years after creating an invention that allowed people in theThird World, without access to electricity or batteries,listen to live broadcasts.
In an interview with The Telegraph in 2015,Mr Baylis said he was inspired to create the wind-up radio after watching a television programme in 1991 aboutthe spread of Aids in Africa.
The programmesaid thata good way to tackle it was through educational radio programmes, but a lot of the continent did not have access to electricity, and batteries were expensive. "I had a prototype for the wind-up radio within half an hour," he said.
But his one-of-a-kindinvention, which sold in the millions,wasn't lucrative for Mr Baylis, whoadmitted to being "totally broke" in 2013. Speaking of his Twickenham home, he said: Im going to have to sell it or remortgage it Im totally broke. Im living in poverty here.
Despitesuccess of his wind-up radio and several follow-up products employing similar technology including a torch, a mobile phone charger and an MP3 player, he said he hadreceived almost none of the profits.
Trevor Baylis and four other inventors who didn't get rich from their creations

Trevor Baylis with his wind-up radio

Credit:
Richard Watt
Due to the quirks of patent law, the company he went into business with to manufacture his radios were able to tweak his original design, which caused him to lose control over the product.
Mr Baylis isn't the only inventor to make virtually money from his creation. Below, we identifyfour others.

John Walker frictionmatches


In 1826, a chemist from Stockton on Tees by chancediscoveredthata stick coated with chemicals would ignite when scraped across a hearth.
This was the beginnings of the first friction match, which John Walker named "Friction Lights" and sold exclusively through his pharmacy. The matches were made of cardboard and soldwith a piece of foldablesandpaper.
Despite being advised to patent his matches, Walkerdid not consider his product important enough and so chose not to. Consequently, Samuel Jonescopied his idea and launched his own"Lucifers" in 1829, which were widely marketed.
Trevor Baylis and four other inventors who didn't get rich from their creations

Daisuke Inoue karaokemachine


Daisuke Inoue, aJapanese businessmanand occasional band drummer and keyboardist,invented the karaoke machine after a clientasked him to accompany him on a work trip where Inouewould play the keyboard to accompany his vocals.
Inoue couldn't attend, however, and insteadgave the client a tape of instrumental backing music for him. This sparked an idea to builda machineequipped with a microphone andamplifierthat played music recorded on tapes.
The machines were well-received at bars and clubs, but Inoue, who had not patented his invention, failed to make any money from it. Years later, a Filipino entrepreneurcalled Roberto del Rosariotook Inoue's idea and made his ownkaraoke machine systemwhich waspatented.
Trevor Baylis and four other inventors who didn't get rich from their creations

Ron Klein credit card magnetic strip


Engineer and self-proclaimed "grandfather of possibilities", Ron Klein, invented the magnetic strip on the credit card after realising that the way shops would handle creditpurchaseswas complicated and time-consuming. In the 1960s, shops would simply keep a long list of customers with negative or "bad" account numbers that was referenced during each credit check.
Klein, therefore, came up with the idea of using similar technology tothat used in reel-to-reel tape recorders to create readable strips on credit cards. The introduction of Klein's "magstripes" meantall negative account numbers were put into one memory system.
Despite his invention, Klein maintains he"never made much money" from thepatentedidea.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee the World Wide Web


English engineer and computer scientistSir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1990, could potentially have become as rich and powerful as Microsoft founderBill Gates. But instead he chose not to patent his creation as he was determined that it should be free for everyone to use.
Trevor Baylis and four other inventors who didn't get rich from their creations

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Credit:
Getty Images/Peter Macdiarmid
In a 2008 interview with The Telegraph he said he tends not to dwell on what he might have done with the billions of poundshe could have earned if people had been prepared to hand over royalties.
He said: "It would be nice to be in Bill Gates's position, where you could donate huge sums to tackling world health problems. We all ask ourselves what we would do if we had loads and loads of money. I would buy huge tracts of coastline in the UK and donate it to the National Trust. I'd also buy ugly buildings and knock them down."
A reserved and modest man, Berners-Lee has longshunnedthe limelight, preferring instead to closet himself in academia lecturing andworking with research students.
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