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Charles Dangerfield was one of the 20th Centuries rarest enigmas. This larger-than-life character was an inventor, explorer, philanthropist as well as a maker of superior leather goods.

His manufacturing prowess, especially in the field of sports equipment, enabled him to pursue his beloved travels to the less well known parts of planet earth.

One of his most dramatic inventions was his patented pocket flood barrier. This, with his slightly less successful invention, the inflatable dart board, combined famously to save the lives of many African villagers in the floods of 1926. Floating to safety, each clutching an inflated dart board, the elated villagers were heard to cry “hodi mgeni ” (swahili for “who the hell are you?”).

Infamous for his ability to relish every last drop of joy in life, Dangerfield wrote the now hard to find treatise, “To Share the Light” (Impress Publications, 1907). This was essentially an invitation to those born into wealth, to assist those less privileged than themselves.

“To Share the Light” was written by Dangerfield almost twenty years after his strange meetings in Moscow and New York with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the 19th century founder of Theosophy. Blavatsky, writer of “The Secret Doctrine” (Theosophical University Press, 1888) claimed, after their meetings, that Dangerfield was well-endowed with an innate blueprint for pleasure.

Other writers and philosophers of the day used terms such as charismatic, caricature and slightly bloated to describe Dangerfield, who wore a notoriety usually granted to fictitious characters.

Today, the rumours surrounding Dangerfield’s private life continue to confuse and divide commentators, but the manufacturing of his ideas continues. Sports equipment was central to his success and his desire to bring people of all nations together, lives on through sport.