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Fred starts work in a Patent Office

Fred started his first job, having left university without a paper qualification, 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.

Freds 1st patent


Fred moves to Birmingham to work

Fred moves to Birmingham to work

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.


Flight Developments

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.

Flight developments


Created car, Cycle

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.


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

Early interest in 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 photography. 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

The Lanchester brothers road tested the Stanhope Phaeton motorcar for the first time

Road tested the phaeton for the first time


Fred Patents 2 different types of flying machines

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.


Lanchester Engine Company formed

The brothers form the Lanchester Engine Company, developing motor cars incorporating Fred’s designs. Frank qualifies as Car Demonstrator.

Lanchester Engine Company formed


1st Production Car

1st Production Car

The first production Lanchester car was built; the 10hp.


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.

Crystal Palace Film


First Production Car
Lanchester motor company’s first production launched; the four-cylinder 20hp.

Lanchester Motor Company’s first production was launched; the four-cylinder 20hp.

Lanchester Motor Company’s first production was launched; the four-cylinder 20hp.


Driving Goggles

George patents his invention of driving goggles – the only remaining set are in Lanchester Collection.

Driving Goggles


Omnibus, fred at BSA, Diamler

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.


Armoured Cars

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.

Armoured 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

Fuel Injection


40hp World record

40hp World Records. Wolseley

The Lanchester 40hp chassis used for racing purposes won 47 world records at Brooklands. Fred becomes a consultant to Wolseley.


40hp Maharajas

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’.

40hp Maharajas


Lanchesters Labs
Lanchester’s Laboratories LTD n e s w

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.


Princess Elizabeth

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.

Princess Elizabeth


Armoured Cars

Armoured Cars

Lanchester was the first company to build purpose-designed armoured cars, rather than using lorry chassis. These were later used in World War Two.


Eyesight Failing

Fred began experiments on eyesight, working with Robert Lockhart, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Birmingham (later Aberdeen).

Eyesight Failing


Lanchester’s Laboratories LTD BSA Buy-Out

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.

BSA Buy Out


Lanchester Carbine

George designed and manufactured the Lanchester Sub-Machine Gun; used by British and other navies.


HM Queen

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.

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