The engineering genius of Frederick Lanchester in homage to Coventry winning UK City of Culture 2021

Birmingham engineering genius FW Lanchester also made cars in Coventry and Lanchester Polytechnic, now Coventry University was named after him. Well done Coventry on winning UK City of Culture 2021


A celebration of Birmingham motor and aeronautic engineering genius Frederick Lanchester after whom Coventry’s Lanchester Polytechnic was named and who invented the carburretor and made the very first four wheel drive motor vehicle.

Near the end of 1888, Lanchester went to work for the Forward Gas Engine Company of Saltley, Birmingham as assistant works manager. His contract of employment included a clause stating that any technical improvements that he made would be the intellectual property of the company. Lanchester wisely struck this out before signing. This action was prescient, for in 1889 he invented and patented a Pendulum Governor to control engine speeds, for which he received a royalty of ten shillings for each one fitted to a Forward Engine. In 1890 he patented a Pendulum Accelerometer, for recording the acceleration and braking of road and rail vehicles.

After the death of the current works manager, Lanchester was promoted to…

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