An engineer and amateur inventor named Thomas Bromley at his home back in Hull created his Digitron Electric Clock in 1961.
He made it in his shed and has been sold at an auction.
It is considered to be one of the world’s first digital clocks.
For about three years he held the patent for the design. When he refused to renew the patent right for three years, it eventually cost him millions of pounds.
A UK buyer sold the first prototype for £460. It got sold in an auction in Beverley, East Yorkshire.
Thomas Bromley had received an award at the Salon des Inventors in Brussels according to auctioneer John Hawley in 1964.
He got the award for his prototype. Sadly, he would have been a multimillionaire if he had renewed his patent in due time.
According to Bradley’s son, David the inventor received a commercial order to “make 20 by Christmas but he didn’t have the facility to start manufacturing them”.
David had remarked after the auction, “I was a bit sad to do away with the master timepiece.”
The clock was always in the cupboard of his mother’s house. Him and his sister wanted closure after her death couple of months ago and thus decided to give it for auction.
The Japanese started manufacturing ‘virtually an identical clock and sold it in many thousands.’ They did so after a year of the patent ran out.
Mr. Bromley while reminiscing the memories of his dad said “An electrical engineer by day and an inventor by night.”
He further described how he was “always in his shed.”
He only came out of his shed when it was about 9 or 10 o’clock at night.
He said “He was like a mad professor in there.”
The equipment and gadgets he had was his life and there were all sorts of them. He used to go in the shed to sit and watch what his dad was doing and admired his dedication for the work.
Before Bromley’s death in 1990 he invented curtains.
The curtains automatically got closed when the sun went down.