Around 1943 I remember seeing an acrobat using this balancing roller board in a circus in Oldham so I went home and sketched up a design that I thought was an improvement.
I managed to find someone with a wood lathe who turned up the roller for me out of a piece of solid pine which ‘turned out’ to be a lesson in the behaviour of building materials to a budding architect. The pine piece was not fully seasoned and it was not centrally turned so that the shrinkage was uneven and the round roller eventually became a bit of an ovoid shape which made the balancing act even more difficult as it made the board go up and down. Nevertheless I enjoyed its use for the two years I had before coming to Australia and I see no reason why I couldn’t make a few here as a new form of ‘exercise‘ machine – there are none on the market and I feel sure my grandchildren would get a great deal of fun from its use.
I bring this into my Portfolio not as an invention of mine but as an example of using an old concept in a new way with new materials. I am currently involved with a colleague, David Anderson in the re-use of expanded polystyrene vegetable boxes which have proved to be an enormous disposal problem. We are currently exploring the way in which solid styrene could be produced from the expanded versions and used for new purposes – and roller boards may be one outlet.