Dedicated to the Memory of's BruceFollow Us on Twitter
Am I
Search Celebrities (By Last Name)
Search Collections
In The News
Voting Station
Christopher Cockerell
Please vote to return to collections (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (June 4, 1910-June 1, 1999)
    Born in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
    Electrical engineer
    Invented the hovercraft
    Granted patent 854,211 (1955)
    First successful crossing of the English Channel on July 25, 1959
    Also held patents for technology related to radio and radar
    Knighted (1969)
    His father, museum curator Sir Sydney Cockerell, wanted his kids to follow artistic or literary pursuits and called Christopher 'no better than a garage hand' for his mechanical inclinations.
    Sir Sydney was also dismayed when Lawrence of Arabia visited and Christopher showed more interest in Lawrence's motorcycle than in Lawrence himself.
    He pawned his mother-in-law's engagement ring to fund development of the hovercraft.
    Due to high development costs and technical difficulties in operating the craft, the hovercraft did not catch on very widely for commercial use.
    He observed, 'Some of the hovercraft saga was fun, but most of it was incredibly frustrating.'
    He helped design the transmission antenna for the BBC's first TV station.
    During World War II, he invented an aerial direction finder used by Allied pilots to find their way back to Britain.
    After he showed his two-foot prototype of the hovercraft to British military officials, they classified the invention as secret, making it virtually impossible for Cockerell to get outside funding, while failing to pony up any development money themselves (1955).
    After he informed the government that the Swiss were working on hovercraft technology, the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) finally began providing funds for a full-scale hovercraft (1957).
    When the US government paid the NRDC £3.7 million for the rights to develop hovercraft for military purposes, the NRDC ignored Cockerell's request for a share of the windfall.
    He was married to Elinor Belsham for 59 years until her death.

Credit: C. Fishel

    For 2019, as of last week, Out of 6 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2018, Out of 1 Votes: 100% Annoying
    In 2017, Out of 6 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2016, Out of 12 Votes: 83.33% Annoying
    In 2015, Out of 11 Votes: 54.55% Annoying
    In 2014, Out of 12 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2013, Out of 14 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
Annoying Collections
Site News