Mobius strip model with racing car powered by a linear motor, by Eric Laithwaite, Imperial College, London, 1974.

Eric Laithwaite was one of Britain’s best-known engineers to the public in the 1960s and 1970s. This model demonstrates his linear motor, which propels a model racing car around the famous mathematical shape of a Möbius strip. Due to the heat of the motor, the model’s track broke, yet it remained on display for several years. This story of material failure and museum display represens an interesting episode in Laithwaite’s long-running relationship with the Science Museum. The Museum has three other linear motors made by Laithwaite (1977-702, 1977-703 and 2000-429) in the electricity supply collection, though none were made for the purpose of museum display like this Möbius strip model.


Electricity Supply
Object Number:
paper (fibre product), aluminium (metal), metal (unknown), paint, cellulose & cellulose products, nylon, polyester resin, fibreglass, brass (copper, zinc alloy) and copper (alloy)
demonstration model
Eric Laithwaite and Science Museum Workshops