He was born on October 23, 1868 in London and died on March 8, 1946 in Birmingham. He was an automobile and aeronautics pioneer who built the first British automobile. An architect’s son, he graduated from Harley University College (now the University of Southampton) and the National School of Science.
In 1891 Lanchester went to work for a gas-engine works in Birmingham, where he improved the products by designing a pendulum governor and a starter. After five years he left to set up his own automobile-manufacturing firm, producing his first car, a one-cylinder, 5-horsepower model, in 1896. A second model, with two cylinders, won the Gold Medal of the Royal Automobile Club, and a third led to backing for the Lanchester Engine Company, which produced several hundred cars over the next few years. Among notable design features of his cars were a relative freedom from vibration, a graceful appearance with fewer of the knobs and levers that bristled in most driver’s compartments, and a luggage rack.
Lanchester’s interest in aeronautics was first expressed in a paper he wrote in 1897, ahead of its time in appreciation of the principles of heavier-than-air flight. In 1907-08 he published a two-volume work embodying distinctly advanced aerodynamic ideas. As a member of the Advisory Committee on Aeronautics in 1909, and consultant to the Daimler Motor Company, Ltd., later, he also contributed to the development of operations research. – New Encylopedia Britannica