Lanchester, Frederick William

Lanchester, Frederick William
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b. 28 October 1868 Lewisham, London, England
d. 8 March 1946 Birmingham, England
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English designer and builder of the first all-British motor car.
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The fourth of eight children of an architect, he spent his childhood in Hove and attended a private preparatory school, from where, aged 14, he went to the Hartley Institution (the forerunner of Southampton University). He was then granted a scholarship to the Royal College of Science, South Kensington, and also studied practical engineering at Finsbury Technical College, London. He worked first for a draughtsman and pseudo-patent agent, and was then appointed Assistant Works Manager of the Forward Gas Engine Company of Birmingham, with sixty men and a salary of £1 per week. He was then aged 21. His younger brother, George, was apprenticed to the same company. In 1889 and 1890 he invented a pendulum governor and an engine starter which earned him royalties. He built a flat-bottomed river craft with a stern paddle-wheel and a vertical single-cylinder engine with a wick carburettor of his own design. From 1892 he performed a number of garden experiments on model gliders relating to problems of lift and drag, which led him to postulate vortices from the wingtips trailing behind, much of his work lying behind the theory of modern aerodynamics. The need to develop a light engine for aircraft led him to car design.
In February 1896 his first experimental car took the road. It had a torsionally rigid chassis, a perfectly balanced and almost noiseless engine, dynamically stable steering, epicyclic gear for low speed and reverse with direct drive for high speed. It turned out to be underpowered and was therefore redesigned. Two years later an 8 hp, two-cylinder flat twin appeared which retained the principle of balancing by reverse rotation, had new Lanchester valve-gear and a new method of ignition based on a magneto generator. For the first time a worm and wheel replaced chain-drive or bevel-gear transmission. Lanchester also designed the machinery to make it. The car was capable of about 18 mph (29 km/h): future cars of his travelled at twice that speed. From 1899 to 1904 cars were produced for sale by the Lanchester Engine Company, which was formed in 1898. The company had to make every component except the tyres. Lanchester gave up the managership but remained as Chief Designer, and he remained in this post until 1914.
In 1907–8 his two-volume treatise Aerial Flight was published; it included consideration of skin friction, boundary-layer theory and the theory of stability. In 1909 he was appointed to the Government's Committee for Aeronautics and also became a consultant to the Daimler Company. At the age of 51 he married Dorothea Cooper. He remained a consultant to Daimler and worked also for Wolseley and Beardmore until 1929 when he started Lanchester Laboratories, working on sound reproduction. He also wrote books on relativity and on the theory of dimensions.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS.
Bibliography
bht=1907–8, Aerial Flight, 2 vols.
Further Reading
P.W.Kingsford, 1966, F.W.Lanchester, Automobile Engineer.
E.G.Semler (ed.), 1966, The Great Masters. Engineering Heritage, Vol. II, London: Institution of Mechanical Engineers/Heinemann.
IMcN

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

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  • LANCHESTER — UNITED KINGDOM (see also List of Individuals) 23.10.1868 Lewisham/UK 8.3.1946 Birmingham/UK Frederick William Lanchester was educated at Hartley College, Southampton, and the National School of Science, South Kensington. He joined in 1889 the gas …   Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000

  • Frederick — /fred rik, euhr ik/, n. 1. a city in central Maryland. 27,557. 2. Also, Frederic. a male given name: from Germanic words meaning peace and ruler. * * * (as used in expressions) Ashton Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Frederick Austerlitz… …   Universalium

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  • Frederick — (as used in expressions) Ashton, Sir Frederick (William Mallandaine) Frederick Austerlitz Attenborough, Sir David (Frederick) Banting, Sir Frederick Grant Birkenhead, Frederick Edwin Smith, 1 conde de Blanda, George (Frederick) Blunt, Anthony… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Frederick Lanchester — Frederick W. Lanchester Naissance 23 octobre 1868 Lewisham, Londres (  Royaume Uni) Décès 8 mars 1946 Birmingham ( …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Frederick W. Lanchester — Frederick William Lanchester (* 23. Oktober 1868 in Lewisham; † 8. März 1946 in Birmingham) war ein auf vielen Gebieten tätiger Forscher, Ingenieur und Unternehmer. Er leistete bedeutende Beiträge zur Automobiltechnik, Luftfahrt und Militärtaktik …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Frederick-W.-Lanchester-Preis — Der Frederick W. Lanchester Preis (englisch: Frederick W. Lanchester Prize) ist eine vom Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) jährlich vergebene wissenschaftliche Auszeichnung. Der mit einem Preisgeld von 5.000… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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