Back in 2003 I wrote about former hair-dresser Maurice Ward and his nuclear-blast-proof miracle paste, Starlite (a name given to hit by Ward’s granddaughter – he nicknamed it ‘gubbins’), for my Far Out column in the Guardian. At the time Maurice was elusive and I was unable to track him down, but he’s now back in the public eye with articles in both Fortean Times magazine and the Daily Telegraph.
Ward’s story is as uplifting as it is demoralising, a genuine case of a backyard boffin making a potentially world-changing discovery but, due to a number of factors – not least that he was something of an outsider refusing to play by the rules of the military-industrial establishment – being unable to get it off the ground.
Part of the problem seems to have been that Starlite even puzzled the engineers and scientists who studied it. As Professor Keith Lewis, who tested Starlite for the MOD in 1993 told the Telegraph‘s reporter:
Starlite ‘had unique properties which appeared to be very different to other forms of thermal barrier material available at the time.’ It wasn’t clear how Starlite worked: was it diffusing the heat? Absorbing it? Repelling it?
The Starlite saga is well worth revisiting. Meanwhile, here’s video of Maurice and his discovery on BBC’s Tomorrow’s World in 1990.