Born in England during WW11, I have been hooked on gizmos since the age of eleven. In the 1950’s — a boarding school matron showed me a mail order catalogue crammed with novelties — a wind-up clockwork mouse, a bent nail puzzle, a squirting coat button, a magic card trick, optical illusions… and the rest! The American equivalent is the Johnson Smith Company Mail order (“Things You Never Knew Existed… And Can’t possibly Live Without!”).
In adult life I have pursued mechanical toys and puzzles, and branched out into science and educational toys. There are twenty thousand toys in the collection and I used them to entertain children and adults at parties for forty years. They are now used to entertain and inform a wide audience through an internet web site, grand–illusions.com.