Lanchester was born as the fourth child of an architect and a teacher in 1868. He made after a difficult start, a brilliant school career. But nevertheless still missed the exam as an engineer on a technician's night school at the end. One told that commercial success was never given to him, probably because its technical solutions were too elaborate, but in any case ahead of their time.
Frederick Lanchester was very interested in aviation, but years before the first flight. He studied the flight of birds and wrote a book in 1897, in which he has derived the technical possibilities of flying from his observations. The video below gives an insight into the findings to the aircraft wings, which are also based on the basics set by Lanchester. However, he was not taken seriously at the time and turned to the just invented automobile.
When you consider that the disc brake conquered the world out of Great Britain only after the Second World War (in racing car from 1940), it is somewhat surprising that Lanchester equipped a vehicle with a mechanical precursor thereof already in 1895. In 1902 he had patented the construction. However, it was scheduled at the transmission output and resembled a single-plate dry clutch with fixed drive.
Lanchester's car from 1895 is considered unofficially as the first four-wheeled car with a combustion engine in the UK. It is said of Louis Renault, he had invented the cardan shaft. However, it was already built-in with worm gear drive in the Lanchester of 1895, four years before the company of Renault has been founded. There were also already here two two-cylinder boxer engines united in vibration-free composite.
Later was introduced instead of the air cooling the water cooling. Planetary gears and pneumatic tyres were standard already previously. Early than at the competition, there were removable wheels, rear also separable from the brake drums. Also famous, the rear axles to the cantilevers of leaf springs (cantilever principle), the vibration damper for the crankshafts and selectable gear speeds at the three-speed planetary gearboxes.
Balance shafts are named partly after him.
It came to bankruptcy in 1904 and the Lanchester Engine Company became the Lanchester Motor Company. But the inability of the commercial directorate was not less. Lanchester himself took over the management 1910. One always speaks of the Lanchester brothers and therewith thinks also George and Frank, the took over the construction from that date. Frederick shall already have been busy until then with fuel injection, turbo-charging, pressure lubrication, forged pistons, hollow connecting rods and torsion dampers.
In contrast to the continent have been sold new cars to private individuals in the UK even still at the beginning of the First World War. From 1919 one built large six-cylinder with overhead, from upright shafts driven camshafts. Lanchester offered cars with left-hand steering well as one of the first manufacturers on the island. Also unusually, the production of own bodies. The technique was progressed so far that one offered Rolls-Royce competition.
But their engines are quieter furthermore, perhaps because designed for more modest performance. But Lanchester also counted crowned heads to his customers. In the crisis that followed the First World War, one also has tried to build smaller cars like Rolls-Royce, after all, with four-wheel brake. The displacement decreased from well six to three liters. As early as 1927 there was a vacuum boost of the braking force. Shortly before the next crisis, one yet brought to the market a much-acclaimed 4.4-liter inline eight-cylinder in a limousine (with tinted glass). To Daimler there have always been relationships of technical nature. The took over Lanchester and although the company officially has survived until 1953, of their stock remained soon nothing left.
The Lanchester Laboratories Ltd.. were founded in 1925, but the severe economic crisis of the early 30s prevented the marketing of the knowledge gained especially just outside the automotive industry. Was hard to comprehend that such a talented man and his wife only with donations can be preserved with difficulty the once acquired home. Suffering from Parkinson's disease and blindness he died in 1946.
After all, him were given honors as the Fellowship of the Royal Society, the membership of the Royal Aeronautical Society and several gold medals. There are the Lanchester Laws of the war. In addition to books, there are also more than 60 technical papers from him. Ultimately, him became still bestowed an honorary doctorate and named after him, the University Library of Coventry. In Bloomsbury there is even a sculpture of the first Lanchester car from 1895, where the company had its registered office at the time. 12/13