Trevor Baylis in 1997 with his Order of the British...

Trevor Baylis in 1997 with his Order of the British Empire award and a windup radio. Credit: AP / PA

LONDON — Trevor Baylis, creator of the clockwork or windup radio, has died at 80.

David Bunting, CEO of Trevor Baylis Brands, said Baylis died Monday after a lengthy illness.

Baylis developed his best-known invention after seeing a television program on AIDS in Africa and learning that people weren’t getting lifesaving information because they didn’t have electricity and couldn’t afford batteries to power radios.

Inspired by old-fashioned gramophones, Baylis designed a windup radio. The invention won him international acclaim and an audience with South African icon Nelson Mandela, but didn’t pay huge dividends. He later formed a company to help inventors protect and market products, but wasn’t motivated by wealth.

“Inventing is not about the money,” he was quoted by the BBC as saying. “Who wants to be the richest man in the graveyard?”

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