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April 04 , 2008

How to be a Motorist


In 1935 the driving test became compulsory for anyone wishing to hold a British driving licence and a rite of passage for adults, young and old alike, was established. It was just a few years later, in 1939, that William Heath Robinson collaborated with K.R.G. Browne to publish a book entitled How to be a Motorist. No doubt inspired by the scenes of the motoring masses - there were over 2 million vehicles on the road by then - and their resultant antics and madness, Heath Robinson addresses all aspects of motoring, from selecting a car through to etiquette on the highway. He explains, aided by numerous amusing illustrations, how the car works, undertaking simple repairs and how to go about touring the continent in your car, perhaps with your caravan attached.
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Heath Robinson's extraordinary imagination also shows itself in his clever solutions to the every-day problems that the motorist encountered in the 1930s. Often employing the creative use of string, we have gadgets for testing front axle springs, braking efficiency and for helping learner drivers. We are offered inventions for protecting the tyres, dealing with punctures and for negotiating roundabouts. It is interesting and fun to see how many of the problem-solving gadgets identified by Heath Robinson have actually been developed today by modern motor manufacturers: for example, all-terrain vehicles, devices for diagnosing engine trouble and driving simulators for practising your motoring skills.

If, in addition to being a great driver, you also love gardening (even though you live in a flat), you play golf and you are married, then you will find much to amuse and inform you in our other titles by Heath Robinson and K. R. G. Browne:
•How to Live inFlat
•How to Make a Garden Grow
•How to be a Perfect Husband
•Humours of Golf

All our Heath Robinson titles include a Foreword by Geoffrey Beare, Trustee of the William Heath Robinson Trust, who is working to build a Heath Robinson museum in North London.
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