LONDON: The scientist whose discoveries led to the development of the electric motor has been hailed as the greatest inventor in British history.

Michael Faraday, pictured, a pioneer in electrochemistry, won a quarter of the vote in a poll of more than 1,200 adults.

He was followed by engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (13 per cent), who designed the first propeller-driven steamship, and William Caxton (9 per cent) who introduced the printing press to England.

John Logie Baird (8 per cent) and Alexander Graham Bell (7 per cent), the inventors of television and the first working telephone respectively, came in fourth and fifth.

Sir Clive Sinclair, who invented the pocket calculator, was ninth with 2 per cent of the vote.

Trevor Baylis, inventor of the wind-up radio, said: 'For such a tiny nation, Britain has produced some of the finest free thinkers in the world.'

Other figures in the top 20 included Frank Whittle, the 'father of jet propulsion', and Percy Shaw who invented the 'cat's eye' road reflector.

The poll was carried out by car makers Chevrolet to mark the launch of their

Cruze model.