Royce, Sir Frederick Henry

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b. 27 March 1863 Alwalton, Huntingdonshire, England
d. 22 April 1933 West Wittering, Sussex, England.
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English engineer and industrialist.
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Royce was the younger son of a flour miller. His father's death forced him to earn his own living from the age of 10 selling newspapers, as a post office messenger boy, and in other jobs. At the age of 14, he became an apprentice at the Great Northern Railway's locomotive works, but was unable to complete his apprenticeship due to a shortage of money. He moved to a tool company in Leeds, then in 1882 he became a tester for the London Electric Light \& Power Company and attended classes at the City \& Guilds Technical College. In the same year, the company made him Chief Electrical Engineer for the lighting of the streets of Liverpool.
In 1884, at the age of 21, he founded F.H. Royce \& Co (later called Royce Ltd, from 1894 to 1933) with a capital of £70, manufacturing arc lamps, dynamos and electric cranes. In 1903, he bought a 10 hp Deauville car which proved noisy and unreliable; he therefore designed his own car. By the end of 1903 he had produced a twocylinder engine which ran for many hundreds of hours driving dynamos; on 31 March 1904, a 10 hp Royce car was driven smoothly and silently from the works in Cooke Street, Manchester. This car so impressed Charles S. Rolls, whose London firm were agents for high-class continental cars, that he agreed to take the entire output from the Manchester works. In 1906 they jointly formed Rolls-Royce Ltd and at the end of that year Royce produced the first 40/50 hp Silver Ghost, which remained in production until 1925 when it was replaced by the Phantom and Wraith. The demand for the cars grew so great that in 1908 manufacture was transferred to a new factory in Derby.
In 1911 Royce had a breakdown due to overwork and his lack of attention to taking regular meals. From that time he never returned to the works but continued in charge of design from a drawing office in his home in the south of France and later at West Wittering, Sussex, England. During the First World War he designed the Falcon, Hawk and Condor engines as well as the VI2 Eagle, all of which were liquid-cooled. Later he designed the 36.7-litre Rolls-Royce R engines for the Vickers Supermarine S.6 and S.6B seaplanes which were entered for the Schneider Trophy (which they won in 1929 and 1931, the 5.5 having won in 1927 with a Napier Lion engine) and set a world speed record of 408 mph (657 km/h) in 1931; the 1941 Griffon engine was derived from the R.
Royce was an improver rather than an innovator, though he did invent a silent form of valve gear, a friction-damped slipper flywheel, the Royce carburettor and a spring drive for timing gears. He was a modest man with a remarkable memory who concentrated on perfecting the detail of every component. He married Minnie Punt, but they had no children. A bust of him at the Derby factory is captioned simply "Henry Royce, Mechanic".
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Further Reading
R.Bird, 1995, Rolls Royce Heritage, London: Osprey.
IMcN

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

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