When we look around us today we can appreciate the ingenuity of our predecessors for us to have achieved the standard of living that we currently enjoy .
There are many innovations that we have come to take for granted without a passing thought for the people who achieved these advances in technology and life to give us a more pleasant lifestyle.
This ingenuity was very much to the fore back in the1950’s when the shipping needs of Lake Victoria in Africa were too much for the two steam vessels that then plied for trade across their waters and something had to be done. Yarrow & Co. in Glasgow were approached for help in building a mail-order steam boat to be shipped out and assembled on the lake. Naturally the Glasgow men were well up for the challenge and a boat was duly built and shipped out to Africa in 1,200 crates each weighing approximately a ton. That must have been quite a feat in itself in those days. The boat was then re-assembled in the Kenyan lake port of Kisumu under the direction of a team of men from Yarrow. I wonder what the Africans made of these Glaswegians arriving at their lakeside. Well to cut a long story short the work was completed in the early 1960’s. the finished article named RMS Victoria was a 261 foot vessel of 1,570 gross-tonnage which successfully carried people and fright across Lake Victoria for many years and may be still doing so. It was the largest bolt assembled vessel to be built in one country for assembly in another. Innovation and ingenuity from the men of Glasgow Shipbuilders Yarrow & Co. who rose to the challenge as they have always done, proving that at that time they were the best shipbuilders in the world.
Another interesting fact regarding the ingenuity of Scots is that of Edinburgh born James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) whose study of colour vision created the foundation for practical colour photography.
In 1861 he demonstrated the first light fast durable colour photograph of a piece of tartan ribbon. A small detail to photograph perhaps, but just consider the variety of colours a piece of tartan represents. Also consider what has been achieved from this since then, as we have moved on to a whole world of colour photography that we currently enjoy. Just think of a glorious sunset over Ailsa Craig and Arran. I look forward to seeing you next week with more tales.