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Henry Royce

AKA Frederick Henry Royce

Born: 27-Mar-1863
Birthplace: Alwalton, Huntingdonshire, England
Died: 22-Apr-1933
Location of death: West Wittering, Sussex, England
Cause of death: Cancer - unspecified
Remains: Cremated, Alwalton Church, Alwalton, England

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

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Designed the first Rolls-Royce

Henry Royce had only two years of formal education and went to work at the age of 12, first as a telegraph operator, later as a railroad mechanic. Intrigued by the harnessing of electricity, he started working as an electrician at age 19, and two years later established his own F. H. Royce & Co, which built dynamos and installed Liverpool's first electric street lighting. In 1903 he bought a small French car, a Decauville, and promptly decided that it was poorly engineered and that he could build a better car himself. By April 1904 he had built his first Royce auto, with a two-cylinder engine that delivered about 10 horsepower. Within months Royce had built three cars, and met with auto seller Charles Stewart Rolls, who was impressed by the craftsmanship evident in the vehicles. Rolls agreed to sell as many cars as Royce could produce under the nameplate Rolls-Royce, and after building and selling dozens of cars the two men formalized their agreement by incorporating as Rolls-Royce Ltd on 16 March 1906.

Despite founding the business and designing all of Rolls-Royce's most successful models through its early decades, Royce was never President of Rolls-Royce, and modestly preferred to be introduced as a mechanic or designer. Rolls was killed in a plane crash in 1910, after which Royce suffered a nervous breakdown and stopped coming to the factory. He eventually recovered and continued doing design work for Rolls-Royce, but spent almost all of his last 23 years at his three homes in Le Canade, St. Margaret's Bay, and West Wittering. For the war effort, Royce designed airplane engines, which later became Rolls-Royce's primary product. In 1973, forty years after Royce's death, Rolls-Royce was split into two separate companies, an automaking concern now owned by BMW, and an aircraft engine manufacturer that remains an independent business.

Father: James Royce (miller, b. circa 1830, d. 1872)
Mother: Mary King Royce (b. 11-Mar-1827, m. 30-Mar-1852, d. 1904)
Sister: Emily Royce (b. 1853)
Sister: Fanny Elizabeth Royce (b. 1854)
Sister: Mary Anne Royce (b. 1856)
Brother: James Allen Royce (butler)
Wife: Minnie Grace Punt Royce (m. 1893)
Daughter: Violet Punt Royce (adopted)

    Rolls-Royce Co-Founder & Chief Engineer (1906-36)
    F. H. Royce & Co. Founder & President (1885-1932)
    Nervous Breakdown
    Knight of the British Empire 1930
    English Ancestry


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