Sir Glaoic Zinclayer RIP

25 09 2021

The recent demise of famous inventor Sir Clive Sinclair (The pocket calculator, ZX80 and Spectrum computers, C5 electric vehicle, and miniature TV)  left middle-aged nerds across the globe in mourning. 

Less well known was the innovator’s island cousin, who came up with a few pretty smart ideas of his own and sadly passed away the same day.

Sir Glaoic Zinclayer was best known for claiming to have invented corrugated iron, and made his original fortune in the early 1960s selling 2-room àiridh kits to readers of Practical Tairsgear magazine for 10 shillings and sixpence a shot.

As peatcutting declined in the early 1970s, Zinclayer sensed that the bottom was rusting out of the àiridh market and decided to diversify into consumer electronics. In 1973, spotting the success of his cousin Clive’s “pocket calculator” on the mainland, Zinclayer began developing several similar devices that were aimed more specifically at the Hebridean market. 

First came the Pocket Cac-u-lator, a device for determining how many trailerloads of todhar were required to fertilise a feannag.

Then the Pocket Cala-culator, for working out how many fishing boats could fit in alongside the pier.

The Pocket Coll-culator could instantly compute how many Stornoway Sunday School outings could be accommodated on the beach at a time, based on tidal conditions.

And finally the Pocket Cull-culator, used every year to count the number of Guga clubbed on Sulasgeir. Unfortunately the Pocket Cull-culator could only count to 2000 (according to the Niseachs) and became the first ever computer to fall victim to the Maw-llenium bug.

In the late 70s, anticipating the emerging trend towards personal computers, Zinclayer designed some of the earliest and cheapest machines on the market –  the iconic ‘ZXochdad’, and the snappily named ‘ZXCeithir fichead sa h-aon’ and finally the legendary ‘ZX Bogha-froise’, which came with colour graphics and a state-of-the-art 16K of Rams.

While Zinclayer’s machines were innovative and cheap, competition in the emerging home computer field was intense, with big international players like Comhairle-dore, Abair and Tawse-tarry muscling in. But trouble came too from within Zinclayer’s organisation, when treacherous employee Chris Cuiream broke away and designed the BBC Alba Pinecone microcomputer. The BBC Alba became the standard in island schools, doing Zinclayer out of the lucrative council contracts he’d hoped for.

To make matters worse, Zinclayer had no sooner finished building a hi-tech factory at Parkend Industrial Estate to produce the ZX series, when the HIDB realized that there was no “Z” or “X” in the Gaelic alphabet and demanded their grant money back.

Despite Zinclayer’s woes, computer gamers of a certain age remember the ZX series fondly, especially for its classic games such as: 

Maw-nic miner

3D Minister Maze

3D Minister (Continuing) Maze


Tha-Tic Attack

Chet Set Uilly

Chuckie Eigg

Jet Pairc

As his fortunes in the computer business faded, Zinclayer took a bold, and ultimately disastrous, step into the world of electric vehicles. Spotting a gap in the commuting market, he came up with the idea of a sleek, low cost vehicle designed to nip in between all the fleekeen school buses clogging up the Manor roundabout and the Matheson Rd crossroads. 

Named the “Zinclayer CFifeAdventurers” in an attempt to get on the good side of the Stornoway Historical Society, this innovative vehicle came to naught as it didn’t have a roof, couldn’t get up Anderson Road, tended to come off worst in encounters with sheep, and got stuck whenever it came to a cattle grid.

Sir Clive also tried out a number of other models of his vehicle including:

The Zinclayer C5Pennyborve electric tractor, targeted at the rural market. The C5Pennyborve failed simply because it was so far ahead of its time (the maws didn’t have electricity).

The Zinclayer APC5 electric church bus – the promising APC5 ultimately proved unsuccessful because, in a misguided  attempt to capture the Free Presbyterian market, it was programmed not to work on Sundays.

In his spare time – despite his nerdy appearance – Sir Glaoic was a bit of a playboy, and was frequently spotted in top-end nightclubs like the Galaxy Disco, or wuining and duining blones at his usual table in the Coffee Pot. 

An accomplished high-stakes gambler, he was often seen in the Turf Accountant’s, placing bets of 50p or more, and was the winner of Grampian TV’s “Celebrity 2s and 8s Challenge” in the early 2000s.

Famed for having an impressive IQ of over 59, Zinclayer also served for many years as chairman of the Airidhbhruach branch of Mehhh-nsa.

On the news of Zinclayer’s death the Made Up History spoke to some of his fellow tech tycoons and asked them for their thoughts:

“A cove ahead of his time” – Nessla’s Elon Morsgail, ” 

“A true inspiration” – Amadan’s Jeff Broadbayzos.

“Oh yus, thon cove. I nicked all my ideas off him” – Microcroft founder Bill ‘Galvanised’ Gates.

“We need to get out of Eoropie! Make Breasclete Great Again! Sir Glaoic who?” – Offshore Hoover magnate Sir Jameson Dryveson, speaking from somewhere abroad.

“What the fleek are you asking me for? I’m dead” – Abair boss Steve JobsblowforArnishworkers (deceased)



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