George Stephenson's cucumber straightener

GEORGE’S CUCUMBER

George Stephenson's cucumber straightener
George Stephenson’s cucumber straightener

George Stephenson is of course know as the ‘father of the railways’ and was the first President of IMechE but he was also highly inventive outside of this. Not only designing a miners lamp but also a tube to make cucumbers grow straight! Stephenson had the tube made out of glass for his garden at Tapton House, Derbyshire. In Lives of the Engineers (Samuel Smiles) ‘At last he had a number of glass cylinders made at Newcastle, for the purpose of an experiment; into these the growing cucumbers were inserted and then he succeeded in growing them perfectly straight’. One of the tubes survives in our object collection so in theory the design could be reproduced so that we could all have straighter cucumbers!

Archives, Institution of Mechanical Engineering

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