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Christopher Cockerell

AKA Christopher Sydney Cockerell

Born: 4-Jun-1910
Birthplace: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Died: 1-Jun-1999
Location of death: Sutton Scotney, Hampshire, England
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Remains: Cremated (ashes in his family's possession)

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Inventor, Engineer

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Hovercraft

Christopher Cockerell worked as an electrical engineer until he was 40, then quit to pursue his love of sailing by operating a marina and boat-rental service. He also offered design service for custom-built boats, and beginning in about 1953 he became intrigued with the idea of floating a boat on a cushion of air instead of water. After performing experiments in his home with tin cans, an electric fan, and a vacuum cleaner, he built a working model of a hovercraft from balsa wood, patented the concept, and literally pawned the family jewels to help fund construction of a full-sized prototype. His SR-N1, the first full-sized hovercraft, made its maiden voyage crossing the English Channel from Calais to Dover on 1 June 1959. He held dozens of patents related to radio technology, radar, and of course hovercraft, and he died on the 40th anniversary of the SR-N1's launch.

Father: Sydney Carlyle Cockerell (typographer, b. 1867, d. 1962)
Mother: Florence Kate Kingsford Thompson (calligrapher, m. 1907, d. 1949)
Wife: Margaret Elinor Belsham Cockerell (m. 1937, d. 1996, two daughters)

    High School: Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk, England (1927)
    University: BS Engineering, Cambridge University (1931)

    Howard N. Potts Medal 1965
    Royal Medal 1966
    Commander of the British Empire 1966
    Knight of the British Empire 1969
    Royal Society
    Radio Research Company Electrical Engineer (1931-35)
    Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. Electrical Engineer (1935-50)
    Ripplecraft Co. Ltd Founder & Chairman (1950-79)
    English Ancestry


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