Friday 27th March 1863
Born on this day, Sir Frederick Henry Royce, a self-taught engineer of outstanding skills and joint founder of Rolls Royce Ltd. The first Rolls-Royce car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, was unveiled at the Paris Salon in December 1904. In 1906 Rolls and Royce formalised their partnership by creating Rolls-Royce Limited, with Royce appointed chief engineer and works director on a salary of £1,250 per annum plus 4% of the profits in excess of £10,000. Royce thus provided the technical expertise to complement Rolls’ financial backing and business acumen. By 1907 the company was winning awards for the engineering reliability of its cars. In October 1928, he began design of the “R” engine while walking with some of his leading engineers on the beach at West Wittering, sketching ideas in the sand. Less than a year later, the “R” engine designed in his studio in the village set a new world air speed record of 357.7 miles per hour and won the Schneider Trophy of 1929. Royce, who lived by the motto “Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble”, awarded the OBE in 1918, was created a baronet, of Seaton in the County of Rutland, in 1930 for his services to British Aviation.