Austin, Herbert, Baron Austin

Austin, Herbert, Baron Austin
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b. 8 November 1866 Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England
d. 23 May 1941 Lickey Grange, near Bromsgrove, Herefordshire, England
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English manufacturer of cars.
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The son of Stephen (or Steven) Austin, a farmer of Wentworth, Yorkshire, he was educated at Rotherham Grammar School and then went to Australia with an uncle in 1884. There he became apprenticed as an engineer at the Langlands Foundry in Melbourne. He moved to the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company, and soon after became its Manager; in 1893 he returned to England, where he became Production Manager to the English branch of the same company in Birmingham. The difficulties of travel in Australia gave him an idea of the advantages of motor-driven vehicles, and in 1895 he produced the first Wolseley car. In 1901 he was appointed to the Wolseley board, and from 1911 he was Chairman.
His first car was a three-wheeler. An improved model was soon available, and in 1901 the Wolseley company took over the machine tool and motor side of Vickers Sons and Maxim and traded under the name of the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company. Herbert Austin was the General Manager. In 1905 he decided to start his own company and formed the Austin Motor Company Ltd, with works at Longbridge, near Birmingham. With a workforce of 270, the firm produced 120 cars in 1906; by 1914 a staff of 2,000 were producing 1,000 cars a year. The First World War saw production facilities turned over to the production of aeroplanes, guns and ammunition.
Peacetime brought a return to car manufacture, and 1922 saw the introduction of the 7 hp "Baby Austin", a car for the masses. Many other models followed. By 1937 the original Longbridge factory had grown to 220 acres, and the staff had increased to over 16,000, while the number of cars produced had grown to 78,000 per year.
Herbert Austin was a philanthropist who endowed many hospitals and not a few universities; he was created a Baron in 1936.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Baron 1936.
Further Reading
1941, Austin Magazine (June).
IMcN

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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