Rolls And Royce

By | October 6, 2019

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Charles Rolls, c1905. Source: (National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Rolls set up a business selling French and Belgian cars before going into partnership with Henry Royce, forming the motor car and engine manufacturing company Rolls-Royce in 1904. The same year Rolls crossed the English Channel by balloon, and on June 1910 made the first non-stop double crossing by aeroplane. The following month he was killed in a plane crash.

Charles Rolls was the man with the “dough” but he needed the expertise of Henry Royce to make Rolls-Royce vehicles what they were and history was made with Rolls-Royce cars being the vehicle of choice for the rich and famous.

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Sir Henry Royce, with Rolls-Royce car. Source: (National Motor Museum, Heritage Images/Getty Images)

In 1884, after being apprenticed to the Great Northern Railway, Royce founded the mechanical and electrical engineering firm Royce Ltd, Manchester, who produced such things as electric cranes, dynamos and arc lamps. After finding that his Deauville motor car was unreliable he decided to design and build his own. Royce's first motor car was made in 1904, a car that so impressed his friend Charles Rolls that in 1906 they formed the motor car and aero-engine manufacturers Rolls-Royce Ltd.

Henry Royce definitely was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was born in 1863 in Alwaton, Huntingdonshire. As the youngest of five children, his father’s flour mill business failed and they moved to London where his father died in 1872. Royce was forced to help out the family by selling newspapers as well as doing other odd jobs. As a result, he was only able to get one year of school in; but, at around the age of 15, he was able to obtain an apprenticeship with the Great Northern Railway even though it only lasted three years. He then went on to work with the Electric Light and Power Company. Eventually, he and a friend of his started a business and called it F. H. Royce and Company where they made electric fittings.

When Royce took an interest in motor cars, he manufactured one of his own and then made two more of which he sold. One of the people he sold one to turned out to be a friend of Charles Rolls. It was through him that Henry Royce and Charles Rolls met. Rolls was so impressed that they created the partnership, and the rest, of course, is history.