Frederick born on 23rd October, 1868 in Lewisham Road, Lewisham, near London. Fred was the fourth child of nine.
Frank Born. Family move.
Frank born 22nd July. The whole Lanchester family moved into 1, St John’s Terrace (now 49 Church Road), Hove, East Sussex.
George born 11th Dec 1874
Fred started prep school
Fred attended Oxford House preparatory school in Eaton Place, Brighton
Began work on flight
Moved again, this time to St Bernard’s Road, Hove, where Fred began work on heavier-than-air flying machines
Fred moved school
Fred attended Walkers School, London
Fred started at the Hartley Institute, which is now part of Southampton University, at the age of fourteen.
Fred: Normal School of Science
Fred won a national scholarship to the Normal School of Science in South Kensington, London (later known as the Royal College of Science and now part of Imperial College). Fred left before his final exams with no formal qualifications
The family move to 7 Balham Grove, London.
Took evening classes in engineering
Fred attended evening classes in mechanical engineering at Finsbury Technical College, London
Fred start works
Fred started his first job, as a draughtsman in a Patent Office
Fred’s 1st patent
Fred has his 1st patented invention accepted, for an Isometrograph (an instrument to draw parallel lines); hundreds more to follow.
Moves, Patents.Works Man. Syndicate. App.
Fred moves to Birmingham to start as Assistant Works Manager at the Forward Gas Engine Company, Saltley, Birmingham. He is later joined at the firm by his brother George, who becomes an apprentice. Fred creates syndicate leading to Lanchester Engine Co. Fred applies for 7 patents.
Fred later becomes Works Manager of Forward Co. Fred applies for 6 patents.
early interest in flight
Fred became fascinated by gliders. He would launch models he built from the first floor window of his home to record and analyse their line of flight
Fred’s work with the Forward Gas Engine Company took him to the USA. On his transatlantic voyage he observed birds flying and gliding, which fed and developed his theories on flight.
Created Car. Cycle.
Fred resigns from the Forward Gas Engine Company to concentrate on his own work and is replaced by George (but retains the post of Designer & Technical Adviser). Fred begins developing motor vehicles. Fred, George and Frank start The Lanchester Brothers bicycle company, manufacturing bicycle parts. The business was not viable and closed in 1894.
1st all-British Motor Boat
Fred designed & built the first all-British motor boat, which he piloted on the River Thames at Oxford
Principles of flight
Fred works on the fundamentals of flight Fred gave his first paper – ‘The Soaring of Birds and possibilities of Mechanical Flight’, which recorded his early observations, experiments and theories on flight.
1st all-British motor car.
Frank joins his brothers at the Forward Gas Engine Co. Fred patents aspects connected to the invention of colour photgraphy. In December he drove the first all-British 4-wheel motor car on a public road in Taylor Street, Saltley, Birmingham
Road tested the Phaeton for the first time
2 planes patented
George resigns from Forward to work for Fred. Fred patented invention of 2 different types of aeroplane, to include many profound features- elliptical wings, contra props, wing plates. Invents 1st accelerator pedal on cars.
Rack & Pinion Steering. Boat.
By end of the decade Fred has applied for patents on 111 inventions, including one for ‘rack & pinion’ steering in 1898. Fred’s 2nd boat launched.
Lanch Engine Co formed
The brothers form the Lanchester Engine Company, developing motor cars incorporating Fred’s designs. Frank qualifies as Car Demonstrator.
Frank Sec of Lanch Co.
Frank appointed Secretary of Lanchester Engine Company.
1st production car
World’s 1st Outboard engine.
Fred patents 4-wheel drive, turbo-chargeing of car engines, the disc brake, power steering, and also the world’s 1st outboard boat engine. Frank is a founding member of the newly registered Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Stream-line. Abduct PC. Race.
Frank competed in the inaugural Phoenix Park Time Trials in Dublin. Fred abducts a policeman, who has damaged car in trying to challenge Fred about his speeding, and drives him from Birmingham to the Cotswolds. Fred invents the word ‘stream-line’.
Crystal Palace film
Lanchester test driver Archie Millership famously drove the 10hp car up the steps in front of the Crystal Palace, to demonstrate low gearing.
The Lanchester Engine Company filed for bankruptcy and was reformed as The Lanchester Motor Company. George then headed the company, Frank directed sales and Fred was the principal designer and engineer.
Lanchester Motor Company’s first production was launched; the four-cylinder 20hp.
The Lanchester 10hp was the 1st car to drive up Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb in Worcestershire.
George patents his invention of driving goggles – the only remaining set are in Lanchester Collection.
1st principles of flight. Aerodynamics
Fred published his profound book ‘Aerodynamics’, which detailed his analyses and theories on flight.
Fred published ‘Aerodonetics’, his second book on flight, which together with ‘Aerodynamics’ became volumes 1 and 2 of ‘Aerial Flight’. Fred receives the Bronze Medal award for his paper at the Aeronautical Society.
Fred joined govt committee on aeornautics
Fred is appointed founder member of the British Government’s Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.
Omnibus. Fred at BSA, Daimler
Fred was appointed consultant to Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA). Fred invented monocoque construction (where the chassis is integral with the body) and 4-wheel brakes on commercial vehicles. Developed first omnibus with forward-facing seats. Improved car engine balancing by means of crankshaft vibration damper.
Fred: founder Aero Committe.
Fred resigns as Chief Designer of Lanchester Motor Company but remains technical consultant – George is now the chief designer.
Fred became the President of the Institution of Automobile Engineers
Fred designs ali-clad aeroplane
Fred designs an aluminium-clad aircraft but it crashes on bumpy beach..
Lanchester cars become the 1st in Europe with electric starter motors.
George designs the Sport 40hp.
1st World War. Aircraft in Warfare.
The First World War begins. Fred resigns from Lanch Motor Company. Fred publishes ‘Aircraft in Warfare’ in instalments of international magazine.
Lanchester Motor Company designed and manufactured armoured cars for the Ministry of Defence. They were sent to Belgium, used to rescue pilots after the battle of Ypres and later used on airfields in Britain. The company also produced staff cars, trucks and over 450 aero-engines for use in the war effort.
Air Inventions Committee
Fred became a member of the Air Inventions Committee of the Admiralty Board of Invention and Research.
Fred – JIE
Fred became the President of the Junior Institution of Engineers, now the Institute of Engineers and Technology
Aircraft in Warfare book published
Fred published his controversial paper ‘Aircraft in Warfare; the dawn of the fourth arm’, which calculated the power of air attacks in war. It was used in many countries and later converted into a business strategy, and is still in use as such today.
Fred was granted fellowship of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Bodies. 40hp. Susp.
Lanchester cars featured welded aluminium joints for the first time in assembled body panels. Duralium body frames were adopted. The 40hp engine was successful in racing cars. Many famous people, including the King, Maharajas, Sultan, and Emperor purchased 40hp cars, which featured 6.2 litre engines. Fred patented Hydro-pneumatic suspension.
Fred was granted an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Birmingham. It was his first formal qualification. Friends later referred to him as ‘Doctor Fred’.
The Lanchester 40hp car was launched at the Motor Exhibition in London.
Advisory Com of Aero.
Fred resigns from Government Advisory Committee on Aeronautics.
Began Exporting Cars
Fred publishes his theories in response to Einstein’s 1915 Theory of Relativity. Lanchesters became first British company to export cars
Fuel injection. Wooden car.
Fred build his Mark Three wooden car, the engine complete with a form of petrol injection. Fred patents basic form of fuel injection.
40hp World records. Wolseley
The Lanchester 40hp chassis used for racing purposes won 47 world records at Brooklands. Fred becomes a consultant to Wolseley.
Fred designed and built a house (Dyott End) for himself and Dorothea in Moseley, Birmingham, where they lived for the rest of their lives.
The 40hp Lanchester car was bought and used by the Maharajas of Nawanagar, Newa, Rajkot and Kolapur, as well as being used to drive the Prince of Wales in 1923 and the Duke of York in 1925. It was acclaimed at the time as being ‘the most completely equipped and luxurious of carriages in the world’.
Lanchester’s Laboratories Ltd.
Fred formed a new venture called Lanchester Laboratories Ltd, in partnership with Daimler. The company later produced sound equipment including speakers and radios designed by Fred, which were available by mail order. The Lanchester Company was the 1st European company to use cellulose paint.
Fred resigns his other motor copany consultancies to work solely with Daimler.
Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen, made her first public appearance – in a Lanchester 40hp limousine, one of three bought by her father, the future King George VI.
Fred was appointed as an honorary fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society
Lanchester was the first company to build purpose-designed armoured cars, rather than using lorry chassis. These were later used in World War Two.
Fred leaves Daimler at Radford, Coventry after 20 years employment there.
Wall Street crash
The Wall Street Crash was the greatest stock market crash in the history of the USA and led to the Great Depression. Its catastrophic effects were felt in Britain; industry declined, unemployment and deprivation soared.
Frank become MD in Dec 1930
Fred began experiments on eyesight, working with Robert Lockhart, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Birmingham (later Aberdeen).
BSA buy out
Lanchester Motor Company was bought out by Birmingham Small Arms Ltd and managed by another BSA firm Daimler to save it from liquidation. It relocates to Daimler factory in Radford, Coventry. George Lanchester stays Chief Engineer. Frank transfers to London Sales Department.
Frank becomes Director of Stratton-Instone. George joins Fred at Lanchester Laboritories Company.
Vision. Expansion Universe
Fred suffers failing health. Lanchester Laboritories Company closes due to the recession. Fred published his theories on ‘vision’. Publishes his theories on ‘Expansion of the Universe’.
Poetry and Verse
Fred published ‘Lakeland Story’ under his pseudonym of Paul Netherton-Herries. Fred published his theories on Relativity
George leaves Lanchester
George leaves Lanchester Motor Company and joins Alvis Company at Holyhead Road, Coventry, to design cars and military vehicles.
Fred was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progessive neurological condition that effects movement.
The Supermarine Spitfire was launched, a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. The aircraft included features similar to earlier patented inventions by Fred Lanchester, including a semi-elliptical wing shape.
Fred revisited his earlier theories on flight and published revised papers on friction in aeronautics.
The King’s cars
HM King George VI orders two replacement Straight-8, 4.6 litre Lanchester limousines for his personal use.
Outbreak of the Second World War.
Fred published his ‘Musical Scale’.
Fred was appointed as a consultant to the Society of British Aircraft Constructors.
George designed and manufactured the Lanchester Sub-Machine Gun; used by British and other navies.
Fred published work on the atomic bomb
Fred died on 8 March following 2 strokes. His ashes were buried with his parents’ in West Sussex.
HM the Queen orders a Lanchester 14hp saloon for her own use.
Last Lanchester car
The last Lanchester car is built, at Radford in Coventry. Lanchester Motor Company remains a dormant company.