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At the age of 10, he set up a workshop at his father’s castle, equipped with lathes, a forge and foundry. So it was no surprise that as a young naval officer, he would go on to design a system of fans, radiators and thermostats for air-conditioning his quarters. He even fashioned a device, controlled by an alarm clock, for making his early morning tea – 20 years before such a gadget appeared on the market.

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