Vol 13 No 8; Albert van Hoorn

Non-Hampton & Richmond Borough related posts.
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Things you may not know, or didn’t know you knew!

Artist & Inventor

Albert van Hoorn (1871-1929) lived and worked in Hampton Wick but was originally born in Ireland. He came to Hampton Wick via a circuitous route which encompassed Oldham, Golders Green and Lambeth before fetching up in Hampton Wick.

In 1911 Albert was described as an artist and inventor. So what was his work and what did he invent? In his younger days he appeared on the Music Hall stage and was regarded as a competent musician and had several songs published. He was also an artist of some repute.

In 1910 he came to the attention of John Pomeroy, 6thViscount Harberton who brought him to Hampton Wick to work at the Crystal Films Company, at the back of the High Street. The Crystal Films Company may have had a connection with a similarly named company in Hollywood which had Pearl White amongst its stars. Whilst working at the studios, Albert helped to build a rotating movie stage which would keep the light constant on the ‘action’.

Albert’s other claim to fame is ‘inventing’ the rotary clothes drier which was originally called a ‘Doravan’ after Dora, his wife (who ran a hairdressers in Fife Road, Kingston) – later the name was changed to a catchy ‘Drovana’.

Having said that he claimed to invent the rotary drier there are also a number of claims from other parts of the world, so I think that the jury’s out on that one!

Albert is buried in Surbiton Cemetery, in consecrated ground but without a memorial.

The Old Historian
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