Toroidal Ring Vortex machines pulling the crowds

After years of scrabbling around in the back blocks of Australia’s farm ‘resource collections’ (i.e. the back paddock dump) a second Toroidal Ring Vortex machine has been discovered and has being successfully restored.

Controversially, this is apparently a World War 11 German Wehrmacht machine known as a HF99. The HF apparently stands for Himmel Furz. Finding parts has been very tricky indeed especially something known as “die Klappe Foofer”. Any suggestions welcome.

If you do not know of the Toroidal Ring Vortex Machine, the video clip below shows one being operated by IBYS head chutney consultant Billie Justice Thomson.

Here is another recent demonstration of the HimmelFurz

The Toroidal Ring Vortex Generators are available for hire under certain conditions (email to start that conversation). They are an enduring source of wonder for all. The first Ring vortex Generator has now been hit/whacked/hammered an estimated 100,000 times plus.

The new/old Himmelfurz in action at Tonsley Innovation Hubarama, South Australia

And in case you wondered whether they pull a crowd, check out the clip below from Science Alive 2017. Long queues!

The Shearing Days

Recent research work by IBYS associates has thrown more light on Australian Inventor Henry Hoke’s “missing years” which currently seem to be fairly elastic – they could have taken up most of his life.  Photos taken in a remote shearing shed prove definitively that Henry really did work in the shearing industry- these stencilled letters which spell out his name on the shearing shed wall are part of a longstanding tradition when a shearing season comes to an end. The exact year of the stencilling is unclear.

Henry Hoke was thought to have invented the now-common shearer’s pizzle guard.

Any stories or anecdotes about Henry’s experiences as a shearer are always welcome.


Where’s the Henry Hoke exhibition?

The immense Henry Hoke tool collection is currently located in Canberra where it resides in the care of the Questacon, the national science and technology centre. The researchers there are giving intense thought as to the potential uses of the collection, which does include a partly constructed Quack of Doom and the only genuine functioning analogue Random Excuse Generator (well, it works sometimes).


As a result of the Question arrangements, we hope to see a whole new generation of young thinkers, scientists  engineers and makers wrestle with the brilliant mind of the great Henry.

Henry Hoke will just not go away

Despite our best efforts to consign Henry Hoke and his brilliant works to the great book of history, the old coot will not lay down and die!
The Lost Tools of Henry Hoke exhibition continues to tour to regional South Australia throughout some of 2012 and negotiations are underway for the exhibition’s location to Canberra in 2013.
In the meantime the exhibition will be touring in regional SA – Roxby Downs from April 18 to May 27, Port Lincoln from June 13 to July 15 and Goolwa soon after that.
In addition some of Henry’s work will feature in an exhibition at Arizona State University called Emerge
Henry will be amongst a collection of science fiction persons as part of “Powered by Fiction: Artists, Makers, Tinkerers and the Backstories that Inspire Them to Create, presented by Intel in The Design Gallery. Sadly, pressure of work here at the Institute prevents Research Director Mark Thomson from attending and setting them straight.

What do we know about Henry Hoke?

Hoke’s Bluff - never easy to find

Contemplation of Henry’s work always provokes thought: indeed, profound thought. What is this widget really for? What was he thinking when he made this? Why bother? What is the point of anything? Henry Hoke was (potentially at least) our own Thomas Edison, never fully recognised … but right to the end, he was a sceptically thoughtful yet energetic man whose activities ranged far and wide across the broad fields of human endeavour. I believe that for his colossal efforts Henry deserves, at the very least, a dusty, inconspicuous corner in the Temple of Fame. Henry Hoke’s life promised so much yet the specific details often remained elusive: the few scraps that remain are like the glimpse of magnificent vine-covered ancient ruins through a dense jungle. They tantalise us and pose more questions than they answer.hokesblufftoday003-new-col1.pngWe know, for instance, that he was raised in the small town of Hoke’s Bluff, now a ghost town – sometimes there, sometimes not. His father, Silas Hoke, was the town’s pharmacist and librarian and of slightly sinister character. His mother Beryl was a leading figure in the Ladies’ Blacksmithing League, an organisation described as midway between the Hell’s Angels and the Country Women’s League. It is almost certain that Henry gained his early mechanical and metalworking skills from his accomplished mother.We know that he worked for a period in the Merchant Marine and as an automotive mechanic and a shearer. Despite our painstaking forensic reconstructions and laborious research, the mighty jigsaw that is Henry Hoke still has many empty spaces. It is time to redress the outrage that we have, until now, neglected a true prince of inventiveness in our midst, a man whose life’s work towers above us like a monument to colossal pointlessness. I leave you to reach your own conclusions about Henry Hoke’s astonishing life and work. I’ve got no idea. Readers are encouraged to help fill in any details they might of Henry’s lfe and activities by clicking here.loadballslite2.png

Henry Hoke’s Guide to the Misguided

Henry Hoke’s Guide to the Misguided is the story of an unsung inventive genius whose work could have revolutionised the modern world. From an isolated workshop in a distant windswept town came a constant stream of dazzling leaps of mechanical imagination, culminating in the extraordinary Random Excuse Generator. The long weight, the wooden magnet, the glass hammer, dehydrated water pills – the man’s mind was truly a fountain of innovation. Unaccountably, all these brilliant tools have now all but disappeared. In this groundbreaking new book, deep shed researcher Mark Thomson uncovers the true story behind our greatest inventor – or why, as Henry Hoke himself was known to say: ‘There’s no tool like an old tool.’


View the store here


Hoke’s Tool Co.

Was this Henry Hoke’s Shed? We may never know as it has now been purchased by a shadowy Indian software conglomerate...

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”?

Hoke's Refined Bulldust - the popular antidote to just about everythingHoke's Refined Bulldust - the popular antidote 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.

Hoke's waterproof taps were a brilliantly conceived water conservation measure but sadly the so-called market could not see their superiority.Hoke's waterproof taps were a brilliantly conceived water conservation measure but sadly the so-called market could not see their superiority.

Henry Hoke worked hard on refining the manual chainsaw but unfortunately the internal compustion powered version of the same concept took the opportunity to make a massive impact on the tool world away from him  Henry Hoke worked hard on refining the manual chainsaw but unfortunately the internal compustion powered version of the same concept took the opportunity to make a massive impact on the tool world away from him


View the store here