Henry Royce was born poor and was working by age 9. Charles Rolls was born to an affluent family and had a formal education at Trinity College in Cambridge. The two made unlikely business partners, but they had two things in common by the time they met; a background in engineering and a desire to build the world’s greatest car. On this day in 1904 that partnership began at an arranged lunch meeting at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.
Long before the meeting took place Rolls had started a car dealership selling imports from Belgium and France. However, he desired to build and sell English cars that were second to none. Royce on the other hand, was using his background in engineering to already produce 10 hp cars. AHenry Edmunds, a friend of Rolls and a shareholder in Royce’s automobile business knew they were a match made in heaven and arranged the meeting.
Though Rolls preferred three and four cylinder cars, after seeing the twin cylinder Royce, he was sold. By the following December a Rolls agreed to sell as many as automobiles as Royce could build, so long as they were badged as Rolls-Royce. With their partnership sealed, the company was officially founded on March 15, 1906.