Tavistock - David Cameron made his first public appearance outside of London as prime minister here today to honour Tavistock's most famous son, Jonas Falmouth, a wheelwright who invented the paint-stirring stick in 1342. Cameron spoke at the dedication of a bronze statue of Falmouth, while waving a paint stirring stick over his head broadly to great effect.
"Before Falmouth paint had to be used immediately upon mixing otherwise it quickly separated into its constituent elements and became useless. Efforts to keep it mixed by packing into barrels and loading it onto donkeys walking in circles was expensive and painters assistants were often kept busy full-time with their arms up to their elbows in paint stirring from sun-up to sun-down while painters plied their trade."
"Falmouth came upon his invention honestly enough while making a wheel. Holding up a shaving from a spoke he was making he realized that this would be an ideal thing to use to mix paint, that was his genius."
"The invention of the paint-stirring stick quickly revolutionized the painting industry in Great Britain as Cornish paint mixers were soon in high demand. Manufacturing of paint-stirring sticks soon began in earnest on a large scale in Essex and were soon traded widely around the world, despite lack of knowledge that the world was round at the time, spring-boarding Cornwall onto the world stage and taking over from pastries as the chief economic driver of the Cornish economy."
"For a short period of time Cornwall was on the cusp of a trading empire with goods such as silks, gold and spices pouring into Plymouth harbour in exchange for pallets of the coveted Cornish paint-stirring stick which were by then being produced in the millions here from sturdy Cornish oak."
"Unfortunately the fledgling Cornish empire met it's demise too soon as England fearing the lack of oak trees for their nascent naval empire due to their use as Cornish paint-stirring sticks encouraged English industrialists to make the sticks illegally out of patent by converting whole factories, yet to be dedicated to steam-driven woolen production, to the fabrication of paint-stirring sticks."