Harry Grindell-Matthews, scientist with a connection to Wales (Port Talbot)
Harry Grindell-MatthewsWacky inventor of so called 'Death Ray' and various electrical devices including burglar alarms, projectors and automatic street lighting.
Connection: Lived in Wales for some time. He left part of his estate (and personal records etc.) to local government in Port Talbot.
**NOTE** Probably a spoof, any confirmation please let us know. (Ed) Welsh Connection from Cardiff? Links
Grindell-Matthews said his destructive rays would operate over a distance of four miles and that the maximum distance for this type of weapon would be seven or eight miles. When asked if it would be possible to destroy an approaching enemy fleet, the inventor said it would not, because 'Ships, like land, are in continual contact with the earth, but what I can do is to put the ships out of action by the destruction of vital parts of the machinery, and also by putting the crews temporarily out of action through shock.'
He moved to America, claiming that experimentation with the ray gun had lost him his sight in one eye. He died in 1941 with many questions about his weapon left unanswered.
You can find all the info on this fascinating man and many more of his inventions in the book: Death Ray Man author: H.G. Barwell publisher: Hutchinson 1941.
He did exist. Lived in a remote house on Mynydd y Gwair near Clydach. Book about him now out of print called The Death Ray Man. I can't remember the author, you may find it in Swansea library. Also said to have invented mobile telephony, u-boats and much more besides. Locals talk about how his 'death ray' machine could stop the engine of a motorcycle by him pointing the machine to it.
He wasn't Welsh. He was born in Clevedon, Somerset
NOTE: This website is not just about people born in Wales, it's about people with a Welsh connection - Matthews does have a strong Welsh connection - check the county records for (if I remember correctly) Port Talbot and you'll see he even left part of his estate to the borough in his will - Ed
The buildings occupied by Matthews still exist on Mynydd y Gwair three miles from Morriston. A sign the ranch points to a track over the mountain. Many older Morriston residents can remember him coming into the town for supplies.
Matthews wasn't from Clevedon, he was born in Winterbourne, Gloucestershire. A few miles north east of Bristol. He was baptised in the parish church on 13th June 1880, the son of Daniel and Jane Matthews. The Matthews were a very long established farming family in Winterbourne and his father is shown in the register as a farmer. (He was baptised by Revd. Austen-Leigh, who was a great nephew of Jane Austen!
link by: EdWelsh
all about the Death Ray
Read about this controversial character and his whacky inventions.