March 27, 1863 – Henry Royce, half of Rolls-Royce, is born

For a boy whose professional career began as a newspaper salesman and telegram deliverer, it probably never crossed his young mind that he would co-found one of the world’s most luxurious automotive brands. But that is exactly what happened to Henry Royce, who was born on this day in 1863. In early adulthood he completed an apprenticeship with the Great Northern Railway company before starting an electrical and machine shop with a friend in Manchester in 1884. There they manufactured cranes and dynamos but increasing competition led Royce to consider a motorcar as a new product for their company. 

Above: 1905 Three-Cylinder 15hp. By Michel Curi. CC2.0
Top: Henry Royce

A number of prototypes were soon built, one of which was given to a friend of Charles Rolls, who was the owner of a local import car dealership. The mutual friend set up a lunch between the two and a partnership was formed to build and sell high end vehicles. Rollys-Royce would be officially founded not long after.

Royce, who lived by the motto “Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble”, was created a baronet, of Seaton in the County of Rutland, in 1930 for his services to British Aviation.vHe had no children and the baronetcy became extinct on his death at his house on Elmstead in West Wittering on April 22, 1933. His remains are now in the parish church of Alwalton, his birthplace.

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