Watt, Boulton, Tesla, Stephenson, Whitworth, Edison… a few of the great engineers and inventors who were the giants of our technological history.
The time has come to add another name to that stellar gathering: Henry Hoke.
Throughout much of the twentieth century, in an isolated workshop on a dusty windswept plain, Henry Hoke labored mightily to conceive a string of dazzling inventions that, to this day, still defy the imagination.
Culminating in his extraordinary masterwork, the Random Excuse Generator, Henry churned out breakthrough after breakthrough in his shed. Hoke’s Waterproof Tap, his Wooden Magnet, his Long Weight, Hoke’s Dehydrated Water Pills, to name but a few, have now almost vanished from the public gaze. And whatever became of Henry’s clockwork car? Dark “big money” forces seem to have guaranteed its “disappearance” and all the remains is the Giant Windup key… at a time when the world is crying out for a replacement for the increasingly unsustainable internal combustion engine.
It is Hoke’s Random Excuse Generator that remains his most illustrious and even disturbing invention. What was the role of Refined Bulldust in this amazing device? Was it, as Henry seemed to hint towards the end of his life, “the answer to just about everything”?
Or perhaps the answer lies in the slogan of Henry’s company: “There’s no tool like an old tool”.
The full story is to be found in the excellent book “Henry Hoke’s Guide to the Misguided” published by ABC Books and available by clicking this link.
The Institute of Backyard Studies has devoted many years of research into Henry Hoke’s life and works, and with the aid of like-minded colleagues around the country and, indeed, around the world, has recommenced some limited commercial operations of Hoke’s Tool Company.
We are pleased to offer a very limited number of his tools and inventions – Hoke’s Wooden Hammer, Hoke’s Dehydrated Water Pills and in some cases, the containers they came in, such as Henry’s prepackaged Sparks for Spark Plugs, Hoke’s Smoke Hammer and several others.
Keep an eye on the Online Shop for the availability of these rare artifacts, some of which we will be able to offer for sale in the near future.
View the store here