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Clive Sinclair (1940-2021)

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

One of Britain’s greatest inventors died September 16. Clive Sinclair has been likened to Steve Jobs. He was a true genius, and I can honestly say one of the nicest blokes I’ve ever met.

Although he didn’t live as long as Marie Goodman who died seven days earlier, he did survive until 81, and had an even more eventful life. Clive Marles Sinclair was born July 20, 1940 at Richmond, one of the most affluent London boroughs. Criminality often runs in families, but so does genius; both his father and grandfather were engineers, and his eldest son Crispin is the inventor of what has been called the safest bicycle ever manufactured.

Unlike most people in his field, the young Clive opted out of university and started his first business in 1961 with £50 and some of his own capital. In August 1966, Sinclair Radionics exhibited a pocket television set, said to be the world’s smallest with a two inch screen. By this time, he was already an old hand, having produced his Micro Kit while still at school and publishing his first book as a technical journalist in 1959.

He was awarded a knighthood in June 1983, the London Times alluding to him as a computer expert, but he was much more than that. His inventions were eclectic if nothing else, ranging from a pocket calculator to a home computer to a fold-up bicycle, to the much ridiculed Sinclair C5. I remember talking to him about this latter pointing out that they may be laughing now, but in a hundred years time, who knows, adding that no one had predicted the mobile phone, to which he could only agree.

In later life, Sir Clive, as he was known to his friends, became an enthusiastic poker player, and after paying for his education, a very good one, which is how I met him.

On one occasion I spoke to him about a Chinese computer consultant living in London, an acquaintance of mine, who had invented a batteryless bicycle light. I thought it had great potential. Sir Clive looked into it and very kindly explained to both of us in detail why it didn’t.

Unsurprisingly, Sir Clive was a member of MENSA, but true genius is more than a mere stratospheric IQ. Many people of no great intelligence have a flair for invention or creativity. He had all of them and was the complete package.

Sir Clive was married and divorced twice and was the father of three.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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Ozymandias
Ozymandias
September 19, 2021

Sir Clive Sinclair is definitely in the pantheon of Great British geniuses, I mean he made the personal computer affordable for people who weren’t well off, the calculators he created also changes how we did things in everyday day finance, also for those who weren’t adept at maths, it was extremely useful for them, like being able to be your own accountant.. Some of Sir Clive’s inventions were ahead of their time, such as his early electrical vehicles, but which are very common to place now. Sir Clive was a very pioneer in making the high tech affordable for working… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Ozymandias
Sean
Sean
Reply to  Ozymandias
September 19, 2021

He also authored electronics books, one of which I bought, back in the day, on transistorised radios, using “cutting edge” transistors of the day, Surface Planer transistor technology, although he also had books using more conventional transistors, too.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sean
Ozymandias
Ozymandias
Reply to  Ozymandias
September 21, 2021

We are honouring the passing of a Great man, and your still with the trolling, you pond life..

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