Two South African inventions

Fishing from a dolos
South Africans are proud of their inventors. It's almost guaranteed that if you're a foreigner and find yourself talking with South African friends on a harbour pier, at some point someone from the group will mention that it was a South African who invented the dolos (the 20 ton pieces oddly-shaped pieces of concrete seen in the photo).

This bit of information will more often than not be followed up by the story of Ferdinand Chauvier's world-first automatic pool cleaning system, the Kreepy Krauly and how the American company, Zodiac, allegedly stole the South African design, with their Baracuda pool cleaner.

Ironically, I'm South African and I own a Baracuda... which, much to my dismay, sucked all the water from my swimming pool during the night because I left the pump on backwash by mistake! Perhaps it's the Gods of Invention that are trying to teach me a lesson about patriotism. :D

7 thoughts on “Two South African inventions

  1. Beverley

    The dolos – now this is something we learnt about on our last visit when we stayed at the Table Bay Hotel.

    Very effective but not particularly ‘attractive’

  2. Paul

    The concrete units shown in this picture are indeed called “toskane”.

    Dolosse are utilised all over the world, but good examples in South Africa include Ngqura Harbour in PE, and in and around Cape Town: The Main breakwater at Cape Town Harbour, Yzerfontein Main Breakwater and Gansbaai to name but a few.

    …and for the record, I think they’re very “attractive”.

  3. Paul

    Post author

    Ah, Paul, thanks for the info. I googled Toskane and found that (as I think you’re pointing out) it seems to be the description to the specific shape. Check out this link for a number of different shapes, some of which I recognise from around the Western Cape.

    I’d agree with you actually – they’re pretty attractive. Far more so than roads sagging into the ocean. :)

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